Broke Phi Broke

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.


K. Rock said...

I was JUST talking to a friend who also watched this last night. She went on and on about how good it was. I have never heard of it bc it comes on a sport channel. I will have to go check it out now.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

I've learned that if we increase our standard of living every time we get a raise, it's like not getting a raise at all. We'll make more and more money, but never get ahead. And by the way, if I ever come in contact with millions of dollars and then lose it all, I'm authorizing y'all to kick my arse.

Sparkling Red said...

Sometimes I watch "'Till Debt Do Us Part" to see if I can identify with what makes people live far beyond their means, and I've come to the conclusion that I'll never get it. I also don't spend money that I don't have, and my credit card gets paid off in full every month. I don't understand why anyone would volunteer to live without a rainy day savings account. I would not feel secure without my safety net.

Mrs Count said...

I was amazed when listening to those athletes. There was just so much excess spending that blew my mind. I can't imagine spending 50k on one night out even if I had Oprah money. It made me sad that nobody was able to teach these men before it was too late.

Jameil said...

k... twas amazing!

nancy... so true on the raise! please beat me as well!

red... I know the prudence of savings and feel much happier when I have one but I also love to spend. I can almost see living outside your means but to the tune of thousands of dollars of debt added MONTHLY??? This boggles the mind!

mrsc... right!??! If I had Oprah money, I could see spending that on a once a decade party. I was definitely sad no one taught them these things. They went from making minimum wage or less to checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's almost understandable that it happened. Almost.