“I can’t go on the same old way
Can’t keep up the same old game
Why can’t you just get it through your head?”
— Boz Scaggs
I know a wealthy, self-made man who made most of his money before age 45. I looked at his financial information and told him, “You are not going to stop working until you drop over dead. If you wanted to retire, you could have done that a long time ago. You like what you do and will never stop.”
My statement shook his inner psyche, and then he realized I was right. He never truly plans to quit.
He realized I operate in the same fashion. The idea of sitting in a rocking chair and playing shuffle board is not in my game plan.
Someone once asked when I would retire. I responded, “Death. My work brings me great joy. I can’t imagine giving it up.”
The great Kentuckian Al Smith wrote his first book at age 84, and at age 85, he just finished his second book, “Kentucky Cured,” which will be released in November.
Al always has something to do and some place to go. Al is an interesting role model in that he had a full-time job for 20 years. Years ago, he sold his chain of newspapers and devoted the rest of his life to helping others.
I’m not privy to Al’s financial information, but I suspect he and his wife set up their finances with a long-term view in mind. Which is what some former professional athletes should have done.
Sports Illustrated did a fascinating study in 2009 titled “How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke.” The statistics are stunning. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL football players have gone bankrupt or under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA basketball players are broke.
These are people who made millions. What happened?
I see a lot of them blow money on large entourages and wild spending, the same way many lottery winners do. But I see a lot more get burned by getting involved in businesses far away from their area of expertise.
According to the USA Today, my childhood hero Oscar Robertson has a plethora of tax and financial problems related to a chemical company he owns. Robertson is not only a basketball legend, he has been a devoted community advocate who has lived his life in an exemplary fashion.
At age 73, it’s going to be tough for the Big O to make big money again.
People often ask me, “Why don’t some of these professional athletes put their money in the bank or a lifetime annuity. They don’t need to do anything risky or stupid.”
A good question.
I suspect that the same type of confidence and courage that allows someone to become a professional athlete works against them in the business world. They never know when to go to the sidelines.
It’s not that hard to be financially secure. Spend less than you make, save the rest and don’t do anything stupid. Assume you are going to live to an extremely old age and make sure you have money that lasts as long as you do.
It’s not hard, but it’s tedious. And it’s not the least bit glamorous.
I knew of a woman who was always trying to meet a guy driving a new Mercedes. She should have been looking for someone who drives a 10-year-old Toyota. The Toyota driver is more likely to have real wealth in the long run.
The focus on long-term savings is the primary difference between my friend who has real wealth and big stars who have spent real wealth.
My friend accumulated his wealth quietly and protects his money carefully. I can testify that he is intensely frugal and has no inner need to show off his wealth. His money is a byproduct of his focus on putting out a quality product.
He also knows his business. Inside and out. He knows as much about his industry as Oscar Robertson knows about basketball. He goes to work everyday because he enjoys operating at the peak of his potential. Just like Oscar Robertson did when he played basketball.
Oscar got out of basketball near the top of his game. After the Cincinnati Royals made the silly mistake of trading him in 1970, he led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA championship before he stepped down in 1974.
I hope he works out his financial problems and leaves the business world on top as well. He is a classy guy who needs to ask himself an important question: At what point do you stop taking financial risks?
McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC has Masters Degrees from Vanderbilt University and the American College and was inducted in the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1998. He has four major professional designations and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
“I can’t go on the same old way
‘Tells’ about who will blow their money
Kentucky Derby week is one where gambling takes a forefront in my life. Along with the non-stop activities in my home state, I am speaking at a dinner for the Society of Settlement Professionals in Las Vegas and a film crew from Italy is flying in from Rome to interview me for a documentary about lottery winners.
Viewpoints change when critics gain power
Scandals like those roiling Washington often look more or less nefarious as time and facts unfold. After all, what at first looked like a third-rate burglary turned into Watergate.
I doubt the scandals around Benghazi, the IRS and subpoenas of Associated Press phone records reach Watergate status — but we must await more information and time to know.
Trouble’s last ride
When announcing my retirement, I made reference to letting “Trouble” having one last ride.
Going from school to work requires preparation, faith
(Editor’s Note: After graduating from EKU on Saturday, Seth Littrell came to work Monday at the Richmond Register as a reporter/photographer.)
This past Saturday weekend I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with my bachelor’s in journalism.
It was the single goal I had been working toward for the past four years, and as I walked across that stage I realized I was the first person in my family to do so.
Report on former EKU Center for the Arts director called 'biased, unfair'
I am writing in response to the Richmond Register’s May 3, 2013, article concerning the former Executive Director of the EKU Center for the Arts. The article I reference appeared on the front page of your newspaper with the headline “Sexual harassment, other offenses alleged in Hoskin’s records in 740 pages of documents.”
Recognizing those who provide care
How fitting it is that the beginning of National Nursing Home Week is Mother’s Day, May 12.
That’s just how it is: Part four
I mentioned in the first column in this series that I still get razzed for wearing Marshall University Green.
Former EKU President Joanne Glasser always teased me about it. She told me I looked much better in maroon, and I always reminded her I bleed green. I don’t think she ever really cared.
The case of the trimmed barber
Tony was the proud proprietor of a clip joint with no rival. He operated the only barbershop in town. Then one unfortunate day, he made the mistake of getting into a heated argument with Quincy, the town banker, who became more interested in burying Tony instead of the hatchet. To do so, he imported two tonsorial artists and opened a competing barbershop...at cut rate prices...directly across the street from Tony’s shop. And, if his low prices weren’t sufficient enough to entice away Tony’s customers, the determined banker used his financial influence in the community to wean even more of Tony’s customers.
That’s just how it is: Part three
I received a nice congratulatory email from Dick Ham soon after my retirement announcement was published. He understood why I was retiring, but was comforted by the fact that I was in the big chair, seeing that all the variety of operations were done and done well.
Elections have consequences
I’m subject to temporary bouts of disillusionment with politics, and it’s dangerous to attempt columns in such a mood.
So indulge me as I make some random observations without final political judgments.
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- ‘Tells’ about who will blow their money