Lessons From an NBA Legend

“I made mistakes. Plenty of them. In fact, sometimes I wish I could climb into a time machine and go back to shake some sense into that thirty-year-old me.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

A wonderful way to figure out where to focus your time and energy for your financial goals when you are younger is to ask someone older than you what they wish they would have done at your stage in life.

Esquire has a great article written by Kareem Abdul–Jabbar this week called “20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30.” Kareem is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history. He won NBA championships, MVP trophies, NCAA championships, you name it.

But even he has regrets and admits to making mistakes. Here’s one that caught my eye:

Become financially literate. “Dude, where’s my money?” is the rallying cry of many ex-athletes who wonder what happened to all the big bucks they earned. Some suffer from unwise investments or crazy spending, and others from not paying close attention. I was part of the didn’t-pay-attention group. I chose my financial manager, who I later discovered had no financial training, because a number of other athletes I knew were using him. That’s typical athlete mentality in that we’re used to trusting each other as a team, so we extend that trust to those associated with teammates. Consequently, I neglected to investigate his background or what qualified him to be a financial manager. He placed us in some real estate investments that went belly up and I came close to losing some serious coin. Hey, Kareem at 30: learn about finances and stay on top of where your money is at all times. As the saying goes, “Trust, but verify.”

Great advice from a very wise man.

Learning from your own mistakes and taking the lessons that others are willing to share can help your finances and outlook on the big picture. There are many great life lessons in this article as well, so I encourage you to read the whole piece.

20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30

Kareem also gave a memorable performance in Airplane, an all-time classic: