Equally impressive as his business empire, is Bridgeman's family. He didn't have pre-NBA, NBA and post-NBA wives — only Doris, his wife of 34 years, with whom he raised three children who all work in the business. Two sons have MBAs and their daughter is working on hers. His kids say they worked in their father's Wendy's in high school, not managing or even as cashiers, but cleaning and scrubbing toilets. Seems to have kept them grounded.
No one expects the NFL's new millionaires to do what Steve Young, Magic Johnson and Junior Bridgeman have done.
Nor do we like seeing anybody follow in JaMarcus Russell, Chris Washburn or Pacman Jones' lives, either.
Frankly, the vast majority of the 32 draft picks from last night will be largely anonymous in 10 years, if not less.
Few ever do it, so the one or two who may follow this advice will be grateful they did — whether it comes from parents, a pastor, a good financial advisor, a friend or spouse.
Buy a modest home. In a modest neighborhood. With good schools. A neighborhood with swing sets and tree houses. Where families walk together and play together. A place where you can afford the property taxes and living expenses when you're a regular schmoe. You'll want to raise your kids in such a place rather than in a gated community. Be as vigilant in protecting your children from the trappings of wealth and affluence as you would against poverty and homelessness.
Pay if off so you don't carry a mortgage. Buy nice cars, but slightly used, using cash.
Give 10 percent of your earnings to your church or a charity. Save 10 percent; more if you can. Live on 80 percent or less if you're able.
It's a simple formula, but few use it.
In my experience, that's how you make the game work for you and not the other way around.
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