Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 1, 2012

Smartest risk-takers know when to walk away

(Continued)

According to USA Today, my childhood hero Oscar Robertson has a plethora of tax and financial problems related to a chemical company he owns. Robertson is not only a basketball legend, he has been a devoted community advocate who has lived his life in an exemplary fashion.



But, at age 73, it’s going to be tough for the Big O to make big money again.


People often ask me, “Why don’t some of these professional athletes put their money in the bank or a lifetime annuity? They don’t need to do anything risky or stupid.”

A good question.


I suspect the same confidence and courage that allow someone to become a professional athlete work against them in business. They never know when to go to the sidelines.


It’s not that hard to be financially secure. Spend less than you make, save the rest, and don’t do anything stupid. Assume you are going to live to an extremely old age, and make sure you have money that lasts as long as you do.



It’s not hard, but it’s tedious. And it’s not the least bit glamorous.



I knew of a woman who was always trying to meet a guy driving a new Mercedes. She should have been looking for someone who drives a 10-year-old Toyota. The Toyota driver is more likely to have real wealth in the long run.



The focus on long-term savings is the primary difference between my friend who has real wealth and big stars who have spent real wealth.



My friend accumulated his wealth quietly and protects his money carefully. He is intensely frugal, with no inner need to show off his wealth. His money is a byproduct of his focus on putting out a quality product.



He also knows his business, inside and out. He knows as much about his industry as Oscar Robertson knows about basketball. He goes to work every day because he enjoys operating at his peak potential - just like Oscar Robertson did when he played basketball.

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