I've detailed many sports figures, movie and TV stars, and even "everyday" people who have made a ton of money and then spent and/or lost it all. In fact, it's almost become the norm to see someone famous with great wealth blow it over a few years.
But this is a story about some rich and famous basketball players who are taking a different road. The details:
Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, who earned about $2.2 million last year in his first NBA season, is the proud owner of a Ford Edge, which cost $26,000.
New York Knicks guard Roger Mason Jr. said he recently traded in his Bentley convertible for a used Cadillac Escalade.
And when he needed to work out and get therapy during the offseason, James Jones of the Miami Heat said he used the team's facilities instead of paying for a private trainer. "We've got a lockout coming," Mr. Jones said. "I'm not going to pay that much money to have somebody stretch me for an hour."
Brandan Wright of the Golden State Warriors, who was a first-round draft pick and will have earned $11 million before his 24th birthday, is typical of a new attitude. He said he owns one BMW and a home in Nashville, Tenn., for his immediate family. Mr. Wright said he likes to get "nice sandwiches" rather than lavish meals when he's eating out on the road in order to save cash. And if his spending ever gets out of hand, he said, he has trained his financial advisers to call him to tell him to rein it in. "Cheap is the best way to be," he said.
Mr. Jones of the Heat, who is the players union's secretary-treasurer, was a finance major when he was at the University of Miami. He said he tried to keep himself on a 20/80 budget when he joined the league in 2003—spending 20% of his salary, saving 80%. When he played for the Suns from 2005 to 2007, he rented an apartment in Phoenix while paying off a mortgage and taxes on a home he bought in Miami. If he came into the league now, he said, he would have only had one property at a time.
Ok, so there's a potential lockout coming, forcing these guys to prepare in advance for a tough time. Still, they are going against the flow and making financial moves that most people would not. James Jones is to especially be commended. He's been living on a 20/80 budget for seven years now. He has to be set financially for the rest of his life (assuming he can keep his spending under control that long.) Good for him!!!!
As I like to say, if you make $1,000,000 a year and spend $1,000,001 a year, you're going backwards financially. Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm these days for high-income athletes and movie stars. That's what makes the people above so impressive -- they are going counter-culture and making the right money moves -- and they deserve recognition from us all for doing so.