“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
Our Fragile Planet
Let's examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." "The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: "Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day." "Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It's the only home we have!" Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youth from kindergarten through college. Let's examine just how fragile the earth is.
The Case of the Unhappy Robber
Norton, a professional burglar, looked upon himself as a kind of Robin Hood. The difference was that he took from the rich and kept it for himself. As a result, he spent more time in the slammer than he did in Sherwood Forest.
The toughest blow he suffered, however, was inflicted by the commissioner of motor vehicles. Upon Norton’s release from jail for the umpteenth time, the hard-hearted commissioner revoked his driver’s license.
Dream becomes reality only when you persevere
A young boy grew up in Berea, in a family that was blessed with a variety of musical talents.
His mother was a member of a female group who performed onstage regularly at Renfro Valley, in Rockcastle County.
This young man would routinely attend shows to watch his mother, and other artists, perform on stage. He was eager to learn from them every chance he could. He knew from a young age he wanted to pursue a career in the music industry and was willing to seek advice and mentoring from those who were experienced in the industry.
SOAR-ing in eastern Kentucky
By the time many of you read this, I’ll be traveling to southeastern Kentucky, on my way to the SOAR Summit scheduled for Monday in Pikeville (at least if the weather cooperates).
I’ll be listening to WMMT radio out of Whitesburg, the world’s most eclectic radio station. I’ll be among those magic mountains and with the wonderful people who live in the region and others who don’t but still love it.
If you don’t know eastern Kentucky, get rid of your stereotypes right now. Yes, there are poor, ignorant people in eastern Kentucky — just as there are in New York City, San Francisco or London, England.
Farming Misunderstood and Under-appreciated
As you look at your (I hope) full plate this Thanksgiving, take a guess at what percentage of your annual income you spend on food.
Whatever you guessed, you probably guessed too high.
“We pay as low as 6 percent,” Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, tells me at a conference table in his office. “In most other industrialized countries, it’s 20-25 percent.”
And if you were spending that much on food in America, Vilsack asks, “how big a house would you have? How nice a car?”
Recalling the day JKF died
This is written on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. A year ago I demonstrated my exquisite sense of timing: I wrote my personal remembrance of that dark day in Dallas last year on the 49th anniversary of the horrific events in Dealey Plaza.
Is the pipeline to career advancement broken?
“Honey, have you checked our financials this month?” An individual asks their spouse.
“Yes, and it’s not looking good. Our investments aren’t growing like we’d hoped, and the healthcare crisis is affecting the premiums and co-pays we’re paying every month,” replies the spouse.
The individual asks another question, “Do you think we’ll ever be able to retire?”
The spouse shakes their head and replies, “It doesn’t appear we’ll have that option anytime soon, especially if we want to maintain the lifestyle we have now.”
Life Lessons from lawyers, journalists and 10 years as a columnist
I have little in common with Walter White, the chemistry teacher turned drug lord in the TV series Breaking Bad, but the line about his motivation hit me.
In the decade that I wrote a weekly column, I touched a lot of lives.
At least one man stopped his planned suicide and got help after reading my column. (I still hear from him and he is doing fine.)
Register columnists share room for a day at Telford rehab center
So here we are, coming to you still alive from Telford Terrace Rehabilitation Center in Richmond where I am recovering from two strokes that kept me in St. Joseph’s Lexington Hospital for the better part of last week.
I was transferred to Telford where I intend to learn to walk again.
Memo to Merkel: Tell Obama to Take a Hike
Chutzpah. I believe that’s the word for it.
Just days after learning the Americans have been tapping her phones and taping her conversations, Angela Merkel has been publicly upbraided by the U.S. Treasury for being a bad global citizen.
What did she do to deserve this?
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