Holyfield also had a $10 million dollar estate that went into foreclosure in 2008, and has been sued by several companies for not making payments that were owed to them. As a result, he is engaged in the sad and humiliating task of trying to maintain his boxing career at the age of 45. When are we going to learn the lessons of Joe Louis, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali?
Both Louis and Ali kept boxing long after their primes, mainly due to financial problems. Louis spent his final years running from the IRS, and Ali still has significant brain damage from fighting longer than he should have. Tyson is the first to admit that he squandered over $100 million dollars in earnings on wasteful spending, drugs and his "odd" relationship with Don King. I always find it interesting that Tyson so readily admits that he screwed up, and then he just does it again. Either way, here are some quick teachable moments that we can all pick up from watching these men ruin their financial lives:
1) Even if you are an athlete, you must get educated. People like Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey don't go broke because they make sure they understand where their money is going. They sign their own checks most of the time, and they don't allow money to be handled by people they don't trust. There should also be checks and balances in place to ensure that people aren't stealing from you -- such as random audits by an outside entity. If you are wealthy and uneducated, someone might likely see you as their financial prey. The more you have, the more you have to protect.
2) Spend far less than what you earn. Your life should be making a profit, just like a business. That means that your income should exceed your expenses by at least 20% if possible. If you are fine with barely scraping by, you are asking for a financial disaster. One job loss or a couple of missed paychecks can lead to financial catastrophe.
3) Think carefully before having a big pile of kids. Children are a wonderful blessing. But having too many kids, especially early in life, is a great way to keep yourself in the poor house. Children are expensive, and having children with someone you are not married to will create a long list of headaches for yourself. There is something called a "condom" that some of us apparently refuse to use, and this short-term decision can lead to a life time of discomfort for both you and the kids you've created. Evander's decision to personally re-populate the earth was probably not well thought-out, since he is now unable to provide a sufficient lifestyle for his 11 children. He was "the man" in the ring, but I'm sure he doesn't feel like much of a man right now. I feel sorry for him, and hope that Holyfield can patch up his financial life.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.