Friday, March 23, 2012

March Madness, Money, and Osmosis

Christian Laettner is the source of one of the most memorable moments of March Madness.

After attending Duke University, Laettner was drafted as the third overall selection in the 1992 NBA draft and signed a multi-million dollar contract. To be more specific, he made $61.5 million dollars during his NBA career. As you can read here, Laettner has not only squandered his fortunes, but he owes around $30 million dollars.

Laettner's financial problems are far from anomalous to the rich. Some of my favorite celebrities have had to file bankruptcy including Kim Basinger, George Best, and Archie Griffin. Ironically, the founder of General Motors and Chevrolet (William C. Durant) went bankrupt. Unfortunate for him, the government did not believe in bailouts then and he finished the rest of his life managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan. It seems that having a lot of money does not necessarily correlate with knowing how to manage money.

Dan Kadlec just noted in this piece that based on research, most parents do not know how to talk to their children about money. Yet, affluent school districts across the country do not feel it is necessary to provide their students with financial tools and concepts to make wise and informed choices. I recently asked a local district leader why they do not incorporate financial literacy into their curriculum. His argument was that because the families in his district are affluent, those are not the kinds of problems their students will have to face. As if money management skills are learned through osmosis.

You can follow me on Twitter @FinEdChat

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