The Norman Transcript

Columns

October 4, 2012

Smart risk-takers know when to walk away

NORMAN — 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 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. Sitting in a rocking chair and playing shuffle board are not in my plans. 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. At age 85, he just finished his second book, “Kentucky Cured,”

to be released in November. Al always has something to do and some place to go. He 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. 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 were stunning. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL football players were bankrupt or under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. Within five years, 60 percent of former NBA basketball players were broke.

These people made millions. What happened? Many blow money on large entourages and wild spending. A lot more get burned by getting involved in businesses far away from their area of expertise.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014