By: Mark Pollard
Today’s professional athletes are now looked upon as role models and modern day super heroes to our youth, with the glitz and the glam on top of the super charged bodies and overflowing cash flow, incentives and signing bonuses you would think that there would be no worries let alone debt in the picture. However though along with the tremendous salaries often come “associates”, “friends” and even family members who want a share of the monetary gains. Someone who knows this all to well is Former NFL defensive back Phillip Buchanon, who went through the struggle right after being officially drafted to the NFL with financial problems dealing with “friends and family but who later on in his career got it together with the help of mentors to then write an influential novel detailing how to manage money and family and to produce a board game for minors to teach financial literacy starting at a young age. Buchanon goes on to his journey coming from the world of the NFL to now becoming a promising entrepreneur.
“It was definitely different as far as getting on the path of trying to be an entrepreneur, because it’s definitely not easy. When you come up playing sports in general people just look at you as nothing more than just an athlete, so it was a little rough at first but thankfully I had the right mentors that helped me transition smoothly through out it all.”
The former NFL defensive back recently published his first book “New Money: Staying Rich” which highlights how to manage one’s wealth as a professional athlete.
“It’s a few reasons why I wrote this book, one my aunt in Miami kept bothering me about it as well as two of my closest friends kept telling me that I should share my story and I even had my professors down at the University of Miami when I went back to finish my degree told me to tell my story as well. Plus I thought it was needed no one has really written a book like this before dealing with money, family and the broad situations that can come from it. The book is basically giving first hand stories about me dealing with money and family. Actually one of the situations I put in the book is the situation I had dealing with my mom.”
Buchanon, who spent most of his professional career with the Oakland Raiders, was the 17th overall pick from Miami, FL in 2002. Right after being drafted by the Raiders his mother requested a sum of $1 million for 18 years of parenting. Instead of paying the random payment to his mother however, he purchased a new home for her and agreed to pay for any maintenance, along with a $10,000 monthly allowance.
“I breakdown all the examples of what you go through when you get a lot of money, I also breakdown the definition of friends as well, you have true friends, historical friends and fun friends. Everyone knows already what fun friends are but people tend to get confused about the difference between historical and true friends. Just because you grew up with them and you’ve known them for so long you want to classify them as true friends when there actually just historical friends. With true friends there is no time frame involved, true friends are the individuals in your life that don’t take you for granted and add value to your well being and character throughout life, there’s a saying show me your friends I’ll show you your future. Also in the book I also talk about what an adult abuser is and how brokers can make you “broke” and how financial advisors can as well.”
A graduate of the University of Miami, Buchanon explains his thoughts on the role of education when it comes to properly managing your money.
“Education is part of the answer but you also need mentors as well. You need some experienced people that can help you and can prepare you and can give you a heads up on things that will happen once you have money.”
As part of lending his knowledge on financial gain and loss, with a mission to teach the youth of today an important lesson in financial literacy; having created a second board game this time for minors, called ‘New Money: Staying Rich,’ Buchanon’s new interactive game is inspired by his book of the same title. Leveraging Kickstarter’s platform to help raise awareness about the project, once the goal is reached, a donation of over a 100 board games will be sent to charities & programs that focus on increasing financial literacy in under-served communities. He goes on to share the process for getting the game started.
“The process started back in 2013 I wanted to connect my book to the board game and tie in financial literacy as well because financial literacy isn’t strong in school so I wanted to teach people that as well. So the timing was right and I’m kind of in the lane for it. I thought of the idea when I was writing my book, you know to have a unique game that explains how to manage money in today’s era. I want to give players a new updated version of the classic Monopoly or Cash flow games with a new unique perspective.”
The game will take players through different scenarios in life that may have a direct or indirect impact on your finances. Everything from family emergencies to financial molestation will be a scenario in the game, with the point being to always keep a financial safety net, as you never know what may come up in life.
“The game will consist of character cards ranging from a CEO, a lucky investor, a model, and even a pro athlete like myself, and the person who ends up with the most properties and most money wins the game. However, there are some challenges within the game as well. There will be certain reactant cards each player will have to pull after each roll of the dice which will include some sort of obstacle, from losing money due to financial molestation to even paying family and friends off. So different hypothetical situations that could happen in real life will be included in the game. So basically the whole objective of the game is showing you how to keep your money, showing you how people go broke and how they blow their money by putting you through different stages in the game to help you have a better understanding of how to deal with it.”
As one who fell victim to debt early in his Pro career which is something that comes with obtaining large amounts of money and then subsequently blowing it all, Buchanon thinks it’s pertinent that all athletes and even average people know how to save and wisely invest their dollars to avoid the “burning pocket” of debt. Buchanon’s book New Money: Staying Rich is available now on amazon and kindle, and his new board game is under Kickstarter now.