One of the greatest NBA centers of all time, Shaquille O’Neal, once spent $1 million dollars in a single day. He signed an endorsement deal with a trading card company, got a check for $1 million, and proceeded to spend it on cars, TVs, and other things he didn’t need. He ended up owing $60,000. I’ll let him tell his story.

A lot of people say, “if I only had a millions dollars”. How many would go off and spend it just like Shaq did? Shaq is a smart guy. You can tell from his interviews and commentary on ESPN. It’s not about intelligence. Shaq was missing knowledge and he was smart enough to realize that.

It’s Not How Much You Make…

You’ve heard this saying before:

It’s not how much you make. It’s how much you keep.

It doesn’t sound like a secret. In fact, it sounds pretty bland. But this one concept separates the well off from the struggling. Just look at the stories of big-time lottery winners:

21 lottery winners who blew it all

Money Makes You Dumber

My first couple of jobs paid minimum wage. The jobs were boring but I showed up and did it. I was learning what becoming an adult meant.

The internet was the wild wild west at the time and I was a curious explorer. I became fascinated with websites and learned how to make them in my free time. I got pretty good and eventually landed a job paying $25/hr as a web developer.

That was a lot of money. Minimum wage was about $6/hr at the time. Some young adults stash away a sizable savings from such opportunities. Not me! I spent it all and then some. I ended up with $10,000 in credit card debt.

I wouldn’t say I’m stupid but I surely lacked financial education. Whatever I thought I knew was clearly not understood. I eventually got sort of fired from that job. One could call it a disagreement with management. I’m not great with authority. Ask anyone.

My next job paid a third less. That credit card debt did not make my life easier.

Get Educated

The moral of Shaq’s story is to get educated. Educate yourself or hire someone. Hiring someone is easier for Shaq since he’s a high-income producing asset. I was an income-destroying liability so hiring someone was not in the cards.

In the end, I paid off all my credit cards. It wasn’t fun but I did it. The key was getting financially educated. I carried the debt around for years and didn’t make meaningful progress until I became educated. No one is born with this information and schools aren’t teaching it. They can barely teach us to read and write!

Today, I use credit cards all the time. But I understand what I’m doing.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve dealt with or are currently dealing with credit card debt. It’s hard but you can get through it!