Recently our team worked with a client who had at one point won a large sum of money on a very popular game-show. As it turns out, several years ago, our client won a grand total of $85,000 after taxes, after successfully competing as a contestant on a hit game show.
Well, what exactly did the client do with his newfound treasure? How did he end up over his head in debt with his credit card companies?
For one thing, only about $5,000 – $10,000 of his winnings were ultimately put away for actual savings. And, when we say savings, we simply mean the cash was set aside in a checking account with no real interest earned, and with no advice on what to do with it from any kind of Financial Planner.
The rest of his money was allocated to paying back taxes, old debts, and new bills. Everybody needs a brand-spanking new BMW after so-called striking it rich on TV. I say that truly in jest.
Oh, and some of the funds were shall I say invested in poorly timed business ventures.
Why did this happen to a fairly educated, hard working family man? Well it is certainly a complex answer that has to do as much with emotion as it does finance. Truthfully, the two go hand in hand with one another. So here goes…
As a young boy, I was told, his parents never ever educated him about money. They never talked about money at the dinner table, never discussed what it means to invest, and never taught him how to manage it. It all really started there. Never having had a serious conversation with his parents about how to handle and budget money led to a lifetime of earning – spending – earning – spending.
As he grew older that pattern of never saving and never really having respect for a dollar strengthened. By the time he made it past the qualifying rounds and hit the small screen running he was already up to his eyeballs in back payments, harassing phone calls from creditors, and a trail of late payments being reported to all the credit bureaus.
Winning the grand prize on television in front of millions of people was an instant high that only elevated his sense of detachment from the value of a dollar. Couple that with using a chunk of the winnings to pay back old scores and catch up on new debt and its not hard to see how quickly the money went bye bye. It’s sort of the same thing you hear from big lottery jackpot winners. After having paid everything off that needed to be paid a few less than savvy friends suggested a few less than quality business ideas that ended up belly flopping.
Today, he is an enrolled client. Years of financial misfortune have cost him to be up $85,000 a few years ago to in debt nearly twice that much today.
I think the moral of the story here is that having an open honest talk with your children, your spouse, or yourself about the importance of financial planning and money is vital to your financial survival. Don’t be so quick to buy a vowel so to speak until you know all about it, it’s worth, and can afford it in the first place. That was a bit tongue and cheek but hopefully you get the idea.