Professional Athletes & Entertainers Encounter This More Than You Think
By Kris Benson, September 29, 2014
In a recent article, two very good and talented professional athletes had their stories go public. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the type of articles you like to read about. It’s not as if it’s something new that we haven’t heard before, but it makes you shake your head all the same. For Jack Johnson and Ryan Howard, making millions brought millions of headaches, in the form of some serious family turmoil.
For many athletes that become instant millionaires, friends and family come out of the woodwork. For those even more unfortunate, immediate family can pretty much brainwash you into thinking your reward should be their reward as well – they worked as hard as you did. “We’re family”, “Keep it in the family”, “No one else in our circle”, “We are the only ones to trust”, whatever they can do to make this person who’s been working their tail off feel as if they didn’t do this alone. Granted, someone took you to all those practices and tryouts, bought the uniforms and equipment, and attended every single game, but does that mean there’s an expected rate of return on investment? Obviously to the extreme for some!
Be Careful when Taking Care of Your People
There are plenty of examples of athletes taking care of their family or “people”. I have no problem with that. However, the problem lies in the expectation. The saying, “appreciation turns to expectation turns to entitlement” is the exact way it happens. A lot of time, it starts in a good-hearted manner, but once those dollar signs start adding up in the bank account, material items they only dreamed of are becoming their reality as well. So why would they want the gravy train to stop now? It can be summed up in one common phrase we all have heard, “that’s our Golden Ticket”. That was their Golden Ticket alright! Unreal, these two families, one, conspiring with one another to still hold onto as much as they possibly can, the other, straight up spent it all right under the guys nose. At least Ryan figured it out before it was all gone. If he didn’t have such a large contract, they probably would have taken it all. I can only hope Jack can continue to play long enough and make some money back for himself.
I’ve always been a big proponent of keeping family and business separate. Case in point, you have two guys here that are not going to talk to their family members for a very, very long time – if ever. All because they felt blood is thicker than water, and all these other great resources that do this advising thing for living just wasn’t a better option. However, I can’t fully fault the athlete. I mean, high-level athletes making this level of money are raised to play a particular sport and train every day to get to the top of that sport. They aren’t equipped to manage large financial holdings, handle accounting tasks and crunch numbers. That’s family, why would they do such a thing? Well, the saying, “You don’t choose your family” fits, and greed is a powerful force to reckon with. It’s destroyed these two families, but something can be learned from it.
Deal with People Who Have Your Best Interests in Mind
Hopefully, every athlete, amateur and pro, reads this devastating news and has a coming to Jesus moment – like Ryan did, but much sooner. Make sure that you surround yourself with quality people that have been there and done that, professionals that have a track record of helping people like them. Make sure you know how much money is coming in and where your money is going out – at all times. Let family be family, and help them out occasionally if you feel so inclined, as a gift, but go find yourself some good outside advisors that truly have your best interests in mind.