Philip Buchanon, former NFL cornerback and author of New Money: Staying Rich, came down to the basement to talk to Joe about some crazy topics….all related to money and the HUGE payday that comes when you enter the NFL. It was awesome having a former pro football star in the basement…especially one who’d played for Joe’s team, the Detroit Lions!
Joe: Welcome, man!
Phillip: I definitely appreciate it.
Joe: Diving into your book, did I read correctly that you were already a million dollars in debt when you were drafted?
Phillip: I was spending a lot of money. I was spending money on my family, spending money on stupid stuff.
Joe: Tell us on how your Grandma would frisk you down.
Phillip: I would go to my grandma’s house. Once I walked in I would get patted down. Everybody started patting me down and asked, “How are you doing? Give me some money.” I couldn’t even get into the house without being asked for cash.
Every time we were on the subject of God and stuff like that, was a perfect time for my Grandma to turn on the charm and say, “you know, Phillip, that is God’s money, right? “
I’d reply, “Grandma, this is my money. I worked for this money. My name is on the bank account.”
She’d say, “No it’s not. Philip, take out a five dollar bill.” So I take out a five dollar bill. She goes, “No no. Show me a hundred dollar bill.” So I showed her a hundred dollar bill. She’d say, “Look, In God We Trust. This isn’t your money. This is God’s money. He said I need some tobacco.”
Then, she’d take the hundred dollar bill and put it in her pocket.
After a while, I got hip to the game, and she wasn’t going to get me anymore. Every time she asked me she said, “That’s God’s money.” I said, “But Grandma, I can’t give you money.” She said, “why not?” “Because,” I said, “that’s God’s money.” I started hitting her back with it.
Joe: I love how you would take all the Benjamins out and just have dollars for her to take.
Philip: I had to do that with everybody because they come back, and they see big dollar bills on top. If you got a lot of money, or carry a lot of money, put the big bills inside, so you show the dollar bills and then it looks like you don’t have any money.
Joe: I would like to talk about different types of mentors that you define in your book, starting with what a helium mentor is.
Phillip: A helium mentor can be two different things:
A helium mentor is someone who is out for themselves. They are going to pose as a good mentor, but they are trying to get you to invest money into them.
They also can be someone who doesn’t do anything to harm you or put you directly in harm’s way, but indirectly isn’t as intelligent as they come off to be. I had someone I looked up to who said that doing business with family members is not good, but doing business with him was perfect because he wasn’t a direct family member.
I did business with him, and I lost money. He’s a helium mentor.
Joe: When people knew you were going to be rich you had a lot of helium mentors.
Phillip: I had a lot of helium mentors and not enough gold and platinum mentors. If I had platinum mentors from day one, I probably would not have written this book (laughs).
Joe: How did (famous running back) Edgerrin James change your view of credit cards?
Phillip: One of Edgerrin’s biggest things was trying to cut back on some of that stuff. Only use one credit card, because if you use more than one you can forget to pay the bill, and then the interest rate goes up. He also said if you can’t pay for it in cash, you probably don’t need it. If you can pay for it in cash, it means it probably won’t affect your bank account. Those are the things that stuck with me from Edgerrin James…He is like a mentor/ big brother. We are from the same area too.
Joe: In one part of your book, you say kids react to the things they see growing up. Do you think Edgerrin saw different things growing up than you did?
Phillip: No, I think Edgerrin was more mature. There were a lot of guys at Miami (University)…we weren’t mature about handling money. Edgerrin was mature about handling money. He had a lot of the right people around him from day one. He had people around him that said, “This is how you do things. We can have some fun, but everything is a business decision.” That was his approach toward everything.
Joe: Explain the difference between the street approach to handing out money versus the Wall Street approach.
Phillip: The street approach is just give people money and hope that they will pay you back. That is probably not the smartest way to do things because that’s how stuff gets miscommunicated. That’s how you have a lot of enemies. The Wall Street approach is you make sure you have everything on paper. A contract is written down. Everyone knows what is going on from day one. You can have stuff done the Wall Street way, and still some people will give you the runaround. They just don’t have the money or the resources. You still have to watch out. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it gives you something to fall back on… What you thought was a loan; they think it is a gift.
….and that’s just a taste. Want more? Philip also discussed his low point in life financially, how agents are not mentors, his view on financial advisors, and his expanding empire of board games, books, and even a possible movie. You can listen to his interview with Joe and OG on the Stacking Benjamins Podcast. Buy a copy of his book from Amazon: New Money: Staying Rich.