Baller Problems

The Aston Martin debate, Survivor's Remorse
The Aston Martin debate, Survivor’s Remorse on Starz

Two new shows on premium cable that are very relevant and insightful about this month’s Financial Fashionista theme are Ballers and Survivor’s Remorse. The former just completed airing its first season and the latter has just begun it’s second.

This month’s theme is: “There are a million ways to make a million dollars. The trick is, what do you do with it once you get it? It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep and grow.”

Ballers is about a retired NFL player turned financial adviser building an advisory business with a partner who urges him to “monitize” his friendships with the professional athletes in his circle. The show gives an insider’s look at the temptations, business opportunities and struggles – financial and otherwise – of today’s sports stars.

Survivor’s Remorse tells the tale of a newly minted NBA mogul and his family’s nouveaux riche lifestyle. His business manager is also his cousin, and works hard to be the voice of reason in his financial management. For example, he convinces the “baller” to give the relatives who moved with him to Atlanta paid positions in his company instead of handing out money indiscriminately.

There are 3 important messages these shows bring to light:

First and foremost, they’re topical. Recently there have been several stories of athletes who, despite having been eight- and nine-figure earners in their heyday, now struggle to pay the bills.

Secondly, they are cautionary tales for any newbie coming into a windfall. People on the outside looking in tend to look at the bells and whistles with wonder, and newly minted millionaires tend to love the attention.  But these programs show us that there is more going on behind the scenes. Many ballers with flashy lifestyles are cash-poor. And it is easy for a fortune to evaporate if the person doesn’t manage spending properly.

Thirdly, both programs shed light on how personal relationships must be managed when large sums of money come into someone’s life, just as well as the money itself.  But there is a contrast between the two plot lines on this issue: On Ballers, Vernon is an NFL player whose family is eager to live the good life and he supports them even though he cannot afford it. Vernon put his childhood friend, Reggie, in charge of managing his money. Although Reggie seems to mean well and goes to bat for his boy, and Vernon remained loyal to his friend, they eventually learn that Reggie is out of his depth.

Cam Calloway has his cousin running his business and because the family is so close-knit much of the drama that comes up is thwarted by the love they have for each other. Though Cam took his cousin’s advice and hired his family, it was not before insulting his abilities for a major mistake with an endorsement.

Take-away: If even the rich have to think about where there money is going, why don’t we? You don’t have to have a million dollar net worth to treat your personal finances like a business. You are the CEO of your financial situation. Think Me, Inc. Like any business have a budget, mission, strategy and implementation plan to succeed at your financial goals.

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