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