One of my favourite shows on TV right now is Ballers (although season 2 was terrible). If you’re unfamiliar with the issue, it features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a Spencer Strasmore, a financial manager who recently retired from the NFL. To be honest, the trailer had me hooked from the start. The show was from the creators of Entourage, and let’s just say they were aiming for an adult demographic with this new show. The financial lessons learned were secondary.
Not for a second do I think the show was meant to bring awareness to your financial situation. The show is all about rich people and the hijinks they get up to. But the funny thing is, the money issues they run into are just as relevant to us, they’re just dealing with much larger amounts.
Be aware of people taking advantage of you
In the first season, Vernon, a star player in the NFL is introduced as a family man. We see him sitting at a restaurant having brunch with all of his friends and family. What’s on the menu? Literally everything. They’re having steak, lobster, pasta, and all the other expensive stuff. They’ve ordered more than they can possibly eat, and who do you think is paying the bill? Well, Vernon of course (although I believe he convinced Spencer to pay).
It’s made quite clear that the family has certain expectations and Vernon so far has been happy to comply. His money manager is his childhood best friend, Reggie. Although Reggie is extremely loyal to Vern, a good money manager he is not. Despite the fact that Vernon has a multi-million dollar contract, he’s constantly broke.
A few simple lessons can be learned here. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you’re spending more than you make, you’re going to be broke! You’re also going to come across people who try to take advantage of you (even if you’re not rich). Pay attention to your money and don’t expect things to work themselves out.
Beware of bad financial advice
In the show, Spencer makes it clear that his previous money manager made some questionable decisions with his money and as a result, he had to play another year. In other words, Spencer had to work past retirement. During that extra year, he suffered a significant injury which may have long-term effects on his body.
Obviously having disability insurance in place would have helped, but the bigger issue is what exactly was Spencer’s money manager doing with his money? How is it possible that he burned all his money? This is obviously just a TV show, but it’s possible that the person handling your money really isn’t looking out for your best interests.
Many financial advisors are paid through commissions. The fees you pay directly affect their pay so you’ll want to know exactly how your advisor is being compensated. More importantly, you want to find out if the fees you’re paying is worth it. When it comes to mutual funds, in many situations, it’s not worth it.
**Spoiler alert** We learned that it was Spencer that made the bad deal, but he blames his financial advisor.
We learned that it was Spencer that made the bad deal, but he blames his financial advisor. To be realistic, financial advisors will just do what their clients ask. The irony is that Spencer is now trying to manage people’s money. He has no formal education and admits that he’s just a shark in a suit. Anyone can be a financial advisor, so check the credentials of yours.
Learn to negotiate!
My personal favourite character on the show is Jason. He’s a super agent and in just about every scene he’s in, he’s negotiating something. This guy is a real-life hustler, and we can learn a lot from him.
I probably won’t be able to negotiate 30 million over three years, but I think the important thing is to recognize your worth. If you’re applying for a new job and you know what the going rate is and what you bring to the organization, then have a firm number of what your salary expectations are. If they can’t afford it, then be prepared to negotiate or walk away.
On a smaller scale, you should try to negotiate anything that you can. Cell phone plans can still be negotiated, there’s no real reason to be paying the listed price.
Regardless of your situation, you need to pay attention to your money. You could be a new grad or close to retirement, either you should know how your finances are set up. Don’t leave everything up to a single person or faith alone.