What would have happened if after another Championship, as the cameras zoom in on the hero, he said, “I’m going to visit my Accountant!” This is hardly what we would expect, but perhaps this is what should be in the mind of any serious athlete. If we work hard to care for our bodies, excel in our craft and seek to win it seems obvious that we would do the same for our finances. Unfortunately statistics tell us this is not the case.
“Analysts at Mint.com report that 60% of NBA players file bankruptcy within five years of retirement. 78% of NFL stars will file for bankruptcy within five years. Major League Baseball (MLB) players have only mildly better luck, filing for bankruptcy four times more often than the average U.S. citizen.” (http://www.wyattresearch.com/article/five-reasons-professional-athletes-go-broke/)
The average professional athlete’s career lasts 3-5 years. (http://www.ramfg.com/RAM-Financial-Group-Solutions-Professional-Athletes-Athletes-Services) This means that for all but a few Pros by the time they reach 30 years old their paying days are over. This presents a lot of challenges concerning identity and how to live life like men and women of God. Since fiscal responsibility is part of walking with Christ in an honorable way it would be good to look at some no nonsense principles to keep change in your pockets.
1. Know where your money goes. Proverbs 23:5 says, “In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” You should have a budget that lists where all of your money goes. If you are married to someone who is more responsible than you are with finances, agree to look through where you spent your money each month. If you can’t remember at the end of each month then change it to reviewing your spending each week. Know where your money goes because it will disappear like sand running through your fingers.
2. Limit Toys. I was looking to buy a new fishing pole at a large sporting goods store when I passed by the boats. The cost of a modest boat could pay for a modest home. It is easy when one has money to get all of the ‘stuff’ that you never had when you were, well, poor. But how many cars, houses, boats, vacation homes, etc. do we need? Proverbs 20:21 reminds us, “An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.” This is true because of how difficult it is to be wise with money when one is young. Limiting toys now will allow you to enjoy life later.
3. Do not rescue ‘friends’. Jesus is their Savior, not you. Proverbs 10:16 reminds us, “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” It is sad to see how sin brings out some of the worse type of people. They are leaches and ‘false friends’ who love you as long as they can use you. They take your money by flattery and guilt, but as soon as you stop supplying their greed they will curse you. Guard and hold fast to godly friends. They are worth their weight in gold.
4. Finally, keep perspective. We are successful for a short time and then things change. There will not always be times when you are on the top of the mountain. Even when finances get tight remember the prayer of Proverbs 30:7-9, “O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” By knowing where your money goes, by limiting your toys, by keeping godly friends and a godly perspective you will find that your money will last and your contentment will increase, no matter where you were a star.