The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant noticed that the rapper 50 Cent has been trying to synchronize his bank statement with his handle. Apparently he succeeded and then declared bankruptcy. Oh Fiddy. In court filings, 50 says he drops around $108K per month on expenses. The Rant’s fave: a grand a month on “personal grooming.” We hope that involves a supermodel clipping his nails. 50 also requires $3K a month to keep his wardrobe looking fly, which in his defense is less than he spends on gardening for his home ($5K).

Celebrities squandering their money is an American tradition, as patriotic as overeating and fearing immigrants1. No one in this category seems to achieve quite like professional athletes, though. Depending on which numbers you trust, around 60% of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. That staggering percentage derives from bad advice, risky ventures, and the relative boredom of prudent investing. Athletes succeed because they are willing to take risks, and that attitude spills over into how they spend their money. Plenty of unscrupulous “friends” prey on the desire for a big return on a unique business opportunity2

The Rant could go all sorts of ranty directions here, from the way we fail to prepare our athletes for life after the incredibly short careers to the way colleges exploit “amateur” student-athletes to the special privileges and short-cuts extended to athletes in our culture, privileges and short-cuts that disappear as soon as they retire or are injured.

But consider the fact the average american will earn around $2million in their lifetime if we take average salaries over forty years of work. What if someone had handed The Rant all the money we were ever going to make at age twenty-seven? Would we believe it? Would we formulate a forty-year plan to make it last? Or would we ask 50 Cent to send his gardener over to trim the hedges?

Imagine having to start your life over before age thirty, after years of accolades and attention. After spending your life training to the exclusion of all else, with the encouragement of those around you to shed other pursuits or interests so you could remain focused. Think of those that make such sacrifices and earn almost nothing in the end. The Rant wonders if anyone navigating that path and emerging with a bright future shouldn’t surprise us more than the failures.

  1. The Rant assumes a celebrity lighting a Benjamin after gorging themselves on the Bellagio buffet and getting their waiter deported would qualify for the Congressional Medal of Honor
  2. Some Miami Heat players recently lost millions when a local con-man convinced them he had inside connections on Pakistani real estate. When’s the last time you thought, “If only I could get in on that sizzling Pakistani real estate market?

One Response to “Gonna Rant Like It’s Your Birthday”

  1. John Highkin

    Hi, Rant.

    Thanks for the enlightenment. Would the lump sum earnings at 27 come with the information that it is a one-time only payment? Would there be any other instructions?

    Have you read or listened to Harry Edwards, a by-now quite aged (I imagine) sports sociologist? He has lots of good insight into sports, race, and money. It’s hardly a surprise that Miami Heatsters would buy bogus Pakastani real estate, though it is actually surprising.


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