Finding Yourself DEAD-ASS Broke Is A LOT Easier Than You Think

Yesterday, I finally got the opportunity to sit down and watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Broke” which details how professional athletes who sign for MILLIONS of dollars, end up bankrupt, broke and sometimes even homeless. Now the one point I want to stress about this blog post, is that I truly DON’T CARE whether or not you have pity for these young men. Some of you ALREADY are on the “That’s what those stupid jackasses get!” vibe and while you may be right, there is a truism behind these men’s stories that goes FAR too overlooked by FAR too many people: The harsh reality of vast financial mismanagement is NOT just a scourge on celebs and millionaires – it affects us ALL every single day.

For those of you who haven’t seen the documentary, here it is in full [sorry about the quality, I pulled it off Youtube]:

Now after watching that, it’s INCREDIBLY easy to point your finger at these men, call them idiots and then bask in your now heightened sense of superiority. But the truth is, money mismanagement is NOT just exclusive to “dumb-asses” with a lot of money, it happens to people all around us, in every sector of society. You can argue that it’s much WORSE for rich people to end up broke as hell [which I somewhat agree with], but at the same time, their financial miseducation and your own will land you BOTH in the same alley, with the same cardboard sign, wondering where it all went wrong.

That documentary had some moments of abject brilliance, such as proclaiming that star athletes in university should be given compulsory financial-educational courses especially seeing as they make their respective universities MILLIONS of dollars [a very novel idea]. My only question to that is, why should those courses be extended PRIMARILY to student-athletes, the people who desperately NEED this information are the folks making 40K a year, not 4 million.?

Athletes, actors & musicians are easy targets because they make so much money and are so visible, but, in this time of extreme economic hardship and ignorance, try to imagine what MANY of OUR finances look like. Ask any financial planner, personal tax account or financial advisor about the state of most people’s investments, savings and book balancing, and they will let you in on how grim of a situation it truly is. A LOT of people are spending more than they are making, living check to check, and have out-of-wack debt-to-income ratios. A LOT of people are out here trying to keep up with the Joneses and purchasing things they don’t need and can’t truly afford. And A LOT of people don’t have enough savings to make even 69 a realistic retirement age. As sad as it is, there’s A LOT of folks who will be working until they DIE because retiring is simply not a feasible option for them anytime in the near future.

Take a look at some of the harsh financial truths surrounding YOUR city and YOUR country, and more importantly, other members of YOUR tax bracket, and you’ll see how HARSH things are out here because of our OWN ignorance – and then save your judgemental-ass attitude about athletes and just focus on making sure YOUR house is in order.

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.

12 Comments

  1. lincolnanthonyblades

    10/11/2012 at 5:15 AM

    Ladies & Gentlemen, Do You Think These Athletes Problems Are Just A Microcosm Of Our Societies Mass Inability To Effectively Manage Our Finances, Or Are They Just Special Cases Of Greed, Ignorance & Stupidity?

  2. Smilez_920

    10/11/2012 at 7:12 AM

    It's a case of both . Most ppl aren't taught until they are grown or have already gotten in to mass amounts of negative debt how to manage finanaces.

    1) the stupidity part comes in ( especially in our culture) when ppl want to ball out and show off for friends and 30 man entourages. Athlets out here with 7 500,000 dollar cars , going to the club and buying the whole club , buying 7 million dollar homes etc… Anything to show others that they got it.

    2) a lot of these athlets are coming from homes and living situations where their parents could have been living pay check to pay check. When your living like that and then go to making ( let's say) 8 million dollars a yr, you stop paying attention to what your spending . If you want to be rich forever , when you make more money save and invest more money, don't spend more.

    3) most of these ppl end up taking care of family and friends. Ppl asking them for money every which a way.

    4) these guys sign their lives away to accounts , lawyers and shaky financial advisors. Some of these guys barely made it out of college academic wise. So all they hear us someone fast talking them about their money, and they don't really understand what paper their signing. Bill Cosby said it best.

    5) they don't plan for the future. They don't take into account that at any moment they can be hurt and that these couple of paychecks they might have to live off of for the rest of their life .

  3. petersburgh

    10/11/2012 at 8:43 AM

    Yeah I also think it's a case of both. Sometimes they spend excessively and put themselves in these positions and sometimes their lack of knowledge of financial thinking leaves them prey to shady financial advisers and business partners etc

    • GrandCentral

      10/11/2012 at 10:38 AM

      I think it all stems from knowledge. Financial Management to me is the single most difficult part of life. It has the ability to make everything around you crumble.

      • petersburgh

        10/11/2012 at 10:47 AM

        Yes it can be difficult most times but to add to both our points, it also has to do with the correct application of the knowledge. A lot of people have the knowledge but don't apply it correctly and that causes problems sometimesSent from my BlackBerry® wireless device from LIME.

  4. mena

    10/11/2012 at 10:16 AM

    30 for 30 can make a story about badminton exciting. I think i have cried a few times watching their stories.

    Trying to live with the Jones's will get you caught. I said on a post a while back how this was also a problem when the housing bubble burst and people disagreed with me left and right.

    I got a financial adviser when i turned 24. The stories he has told me over the few years that i have been with him are amazing. He has doctors that pull in 900K a year that live paycheck to paycheck b/c they HAD to have the million dollar home, send their kids to the best private schools (even though i live in a county that boast probably 20 of the top 100 public high schools in the country), and drive expensive cars. I hear these stories and literally am just shocked.

    I only feel bad for those that get sick and literally spend their last dime in order to stay alive and pay doctor's bills. My heart breaks for those people b/c sickness is mainly out of our control. But if you are just being a dumb ass with your money and go broke, live with the consequences.

    Anyone can go into debt but there should come a certain point when you, as an individual, truly looks at your finances and decide what you want in life and if you want to leave anything for your children.

    So, to answer your question, it's both ignorance and greed. Patience will always win against instant gratification.

    • Lia

      10/11/2012 at 10:53 AM

      Did the financial adviser do any good for you? I've been thinking about getting one…

      • mena

        10/11/2012 at 11:29 AM

        Yes. If anything, meeting with someone, writing down all of your debt, your income, and seeing how much you need to retire by a certain age helps a ton.

        A lot of people don't truly know their debt b/c they have NEVER WRITTEN IT DOWN. That is really the first step. Open up excel and put in how much you make, your bills, and other expenses. Then take this to a financial adviser.

        It's all about being honest with yourself and honest about the potential future that you want.

  5. GrandCentral

    10/11/2012 at 10:26 AM

    I saw this movie at the TriBeCa Film Festival earlier this year. First let's talk about the hilariously funny man that André Rison is. He had me in tears, because he was so REAL. He was so brutally honest and I fully appreciated it.

    The is a sore subject for me because like you've noted, the idea that this issue is only applicable to athletes, the rich and famous is complete garbage. I have this discussion very frequently about the pressure of being the first to graduate college and the first to sit in a certain income bracket within my family. It's quite difficult. EVERYONE depends on you and/or expects you to give them a helping hand. Combine that with a lack of positive examples of financial management, it’s literally a recipe for disaster. That’s what happens to a lot of these athletes. As much as I gripe about not having enough money (let’s face it, no matter how much you make, it’s NEVER enough) and I’ve even said “Can I just get $500K tomorrow,” I know that a windfall of money is not the answer. Windfall = Becoming an Athlete 101.

    The athlete that personifies this best, to me, is Allen Iverson. Allen ran through something like $160M (can’t remember the exact figure). Allen fell victim to the helping hand syndrome and I absolutely understand where he is coming from. His theory was that he felt indebted to all the people who kept him off the streets and had his back while he was coming up. It’s because those people that he is not dead and playing ball, so he took care of their every need. This same scenario happens to a lot of us. The title of this post couldn't have been a more accurate statement. I don't look down on anyone who falls into financial crisis.

  6. Lia

    10/11/2012 at 10:48 AM

    I think that if you were taught how to manage your money, you will always know how to do that, no matter how much you have. These athletes who went broke are just like the people with less who do not understand that they need to have a plan B, C, and D in the event that their income should suddenly stop coming in. Can't front, until recently I was one of those people. I was just fortunate enough to realize it before I got myself into a hole. When you are raised to understand that money is necessary for survival, you tend to value actually having over being able to spend it. While I didn't get that lesson early on, I am very thankful that I get to see what happens to other people from an outside perspective so I know what NOT to do. But I cannot judge these guys, we all have to learn some lessons the hard way…

  7. Kelly Manchester

    10/12/2012 at 6:43 PM

    I think that people tend to spend more when they make more money, which is why some will always be broke.

    Also these millionaires do tend to have to go buy the flashiest car and house to show everyone that they are rich. It doesn't make sense to me to be pulling even "just" 6 figures and living check to check with debt eyeball high.

  8. fourpageletter

    10/12/2012 at 9:55 PM

    Votes to add financial planning to high school curriculum. We give 18year olds thousands in loans without teaching them why good credit is more important than good grades.

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