Sudden wealth claims another victim.

How NOT to handle sudden wealth

As the Associated Press reported under this headline, “QB Vince Young out of the game and out of money,”

Six years after entering the NFL as the third player taken in the draft, Vince Young finds himself without a team and with just a fraction of the money he received from a contract that guaranteed him $26 million.

Now to be fair to Young, there are some lawsuits flying around the situation.

And furthermore, Young was, well, young when he came into all that money… 26 to be exact. So we can allow for some foolishness. But blowing through $20 million-plus in a handful of years, no matter how old you are, is quite a feat.

Given what we know of the story, here are some tips we can follow on how to handle new-found money.

Sudden Wealth Tip #1: Take your time

We advise our readers to not make any quick decisions when they come into an inheritance, insurance settlement, or increase in pay. Your emotions can cloud your judgement. Sit on it for a bit. Pray on it. Give it time. What’s the hurry? Acting impulsively rarely proves profitable.

Sudden Wealth Tip #2: Practice self-control

I know, I know. It’s no fun, right? But being broke is even less fun. Once you get used to buying whatever you want, it can be hard to stop. The great news is, as Christians, we have complete access to the Holy Spirit, who helps us cultivate that fruit of the Spirit, self-control.

And there’s more good news. God promises to help us, and He cannot break His promises. So pray for strength and wisdom to act with self-control and patiently expect Him to deliver.

Sudden Wealth Tip #3: Have a plan AND follow it

As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” In this case, planning means setting up a budget. If you don’t mind your money, your money will develop a mind of its own.

Of course, this also means following the budget. Setting up a budget is only the first half of the equation. You then need to spend according to said budget. It’s like those workout DVDs sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Without actually doing the workout and following the nutrition plan, the DVDs are useless.

Sudden Wealth Tip #4: Have trusted advisers

Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Young appeared to have a couple of counselors, one of them even his uncle. So he probably felt safe. But there’s not much evidence of advisers beyond that.

So, choose a well-qualified financial adviser – one who has a lot of experience working with people in your situation. Just because you would trust someone to watch your children doesn’t mean you should trust them to watch your bank account.

You might even consider a team of advisers. After all, $26 million could certainly merit more than one.

Then be absolutely sure they are all trustworthy. The less time you have known the adviser, the more cautious you should be around them. Maybe trust them with a little and see how they do.

By the way, did you know there’s another SMI? Sudden Money Institute. Yep, they counsel on just this very topic.

Sudden Wealth Conclusion

For the record, I’m not trying to beat up on Young as he’s just one of many celebrities who’ve gone broke (either suddenly or not).

I’m also not suggesting these are the only tips to follow when handling sudden wealth. Just as there are multiple ways to plan for your heirs (and ways NOT to plan for your heirs), there are certainly more ways to handle new-found money, such as incorporating regular accountability, having yearly budget reviews, setting up giving goals, creating metrics to help insure that your treasure doesn’t become your heart, and so on.

But I am suggesting that should you ever come into sudden wealth, you’d be well-served by starting with these tips. A sudden influx of cash can be a curse or a blessing. Being prayerful, prudent, and patient will help insure it’s the latter.

Matthew Pryor

By Matthew Pryor

Matthew Pryor is in his 8th year with Sound Mind Investing, now serving as Director of Operations. He previously held the Development Director position for a crisis pregnancy center. He has also served on staff with Young Life in Virginia. He currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and three children.


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  • Roger Wohlner

    Outstanding post and great advice for anyone in this situation, whether an athlete/celebrity or just someone receiving receiving an inheritance. It’s easy to feel rich and over spend, its much tougher to be responsible and plan.

    • http://www.gymoptional.com/ Matthew Pryor

      Thanks and I agree. In fact, millions of people get tax returns each year. I wonder how diligent they are in saving/planning or if this money is already spent.

  • Drust

    I recommend our latest book Sudden Wealth…Blessing or burden? Now on amazon!

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