Early this morning I watched the latest installment of ESPN's "30 for 30" series: Broke. It had in depth interviews with athletes who literally lost millions of dollars, ending in bankruptcy and millions of dollars in debt for some of them. While it was a fascinating train wreck, like the director of the film, I was surprised by how much I empathized with the athletes. Yes, it is unfathomable to earn and lose 40 to 100 million dollars. Even 10 million! But a lot of them were duped by family and friends, sometimes their own parents. Can you imagine your mother giving you a 25,000 bill for raising you? On your birthday? According to one anecdote, this actually happened. While technically I know people have toxic relationships with their parents, it still shocks me.
Another downfall was generosity. I love giving people things I know they'll love! Basically these men (every athlete interviewed was a man... I would've liked to hear from some of the women) didn't know how to say no. No, I can't pay your rent. No, you can't have $200 or $300 every month for YOUR child support (not their own children) or car payment. No, I can't pay your cell phone bill. No, I can't support five households until I can't support one.
Mostly I tried not to make judgments but some of it was just plain stupidity. STOP MAKING BABIES WITH STRANGE WOMEN!! Don't spend a mortgage on jewelery. BUY HOUSES OUTRIGHT WHILE YOU CAN AFFORD IT SO YOU AREN'T HOMELESS WHEN YOU CAN'T. BUY A NORMAL-SIZED HOUSE!!! No one needs a 52,000 square foot house. No one. Somehow they forgot or never realized that 1) it all adds up and 2) the money ends.
At the end, I didn't want to spend any money. Okay. I wanted to spend $10 this week and the next one. I know this is an extreme reaction but I'm a spender. I like buying and having stuff. But I don't ever want to be the athlete version of myself: tens of thousands of dollars of income and nothing to show for it. Do you know the last time I bought an item of clothing not tied to a free gift card? Me either. I'm pretty sure it's been more than a year. I want an award.
Thank God my parents drilled into me the evils of credit cards. I have one credit card that could be paid off in less than a paycheck. My debt is from student loans. This period of unemployment has reigned me in but over-spending happens in every income bracket. I'm glad Rashan is extremely level-headed about money even though and ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I want to be reckless sometimes. God knew what he was doing when He placed him in my life. I will have my moments again but if I plan well, I should be able to go a lot farther than I ever have before.