On the field, Phillip Buchanon was always a winner. In high school, he lettered in football, basketball, tennis and track and field. At the University of Miami, he earn All-American honors as cornerback. In the 2002 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders grabbed him as the No. 17 pick. His starting salary was $400,000, plus a $4 million signing bonus.
Over the course of his 10-year NFL career, Buchanon earned $20 million.
But just two years after his retirement, he said, he was “at least half a million dollars in the hole” from bad investments, excessive generosity with family and poor money management skills.
Since then, he has honed his business skills, created a financial literacy board game and mobile apps and written a book, “New Money: Staying Rich.”
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In it, Buchanon writes that when he was drafted, his mother demanded $1 million in return for raising him. He has also shared his story with NFL rookies.
“It’s really, really hard to learn to say no to your family like that,” Buchanon said. “Once the money started coming in, I automatically became a giver, and everyone else became a taker.
“I frequently found myself in these situations where some relative would claim they needed something fixed. So I’d write them a check — no questions asked,” Buchanon said. “But the problem would never fixed. The check, however, always got cashed.”
Buchanon’s ultimate goal is to become the mentor he feels he never had.
“I wish I had better mentors. People who really understood the value of a dollar, who would’ve told me who was really my friend and who was just out to use me,” he said.