Are You A Baller?

We hear stories and see picture of athletes spending lavishly. They drive luxury vehicles, making it rain at the clubs, and wear bling heavier than our heads. Then when they become injured or cut and can no longer play, we roll our eyes and have little sympathy when we hear they filed for bankruptcy. What we don’t realize is that many of us average folks do the same thing, just on a smaller scale. We spend everything we earn, acting as if we will go on living this way forever. We are your everyday ballers.

What Is An Everyday Baller

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Many people take out car loans for vehicles they can barely afford, buy the largest house possible as long as they can “afford” the monthly payment, and put everyday purchases such as going out to eat and buying clothes on credit. Yet a recent study found that more than 20% of adults are unable to pay their monthly bills in full and only 40% of Americans are able to handle even a $400 emergency. Forget having enough saved should they become injured or lose their job and unable to work for months

Reality is, there will be a day in each of our lives when we become unable to work. Maybe it will be when we are 72 and able to draw from our retirement and collect social security. But maybe it will be sooner (even a lot sooner).

As an oncology psychologist working with people who live with cancer, I see people every day in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s (some of whom are in better physical fitness than I am), and older who suddenly and unexpectedly become sidelined and unable to work.

As a result, they lose their homes, can’t afford their medication, and are forced to file for bankruptcy. You would think that battling a life-threatening illness would be their largest concern. But no, for many it’s the fear of becoming homeless or of not being able to find work with their treatment schedule that keeps them up at night.

Lifestyle Inflation

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Everyday ballers may not spend as lavishly as athletes do. Because there are no mansions, private jets, or ritzy vacations, you may think that our behavior is quite different than those of the rich and famous.

But when you look at it in terms of what percent of our income we are spending, then yes, we are just as much to blame for our spending habits as ballers. We are all guilty of lifestyle inflation, which is when our spending increases as our income goes up. However, a moderate amount of inflation is expected and is not a bad thing.

But when attitudes such as “You only live once,” “fear of missing out,” and “I can afford it” start to take over, we lose sight of the primary purpose of money: to exchange for goods and services we need to survive now and in the future. Unfortunately, the mentality of “I will work until I’m 65” has spread into even  middle class homes. Yes, that would be great if we could all work for as long as we want to – but that will not be the reality for many of us.

Final Thoughts

In truth, none of us knows how long we will be able to continue to generate our current incomes. When you notice yourself making judgements about athletes and celebrities who spend as much as they bring in, stop and think. Are you really making wiser choices for your future, or are you an everyday baller?

2 thoughts on “Are You A Baller?”

  1. LOVE this and I used to be, but now, that extra 500 in the bank in savings feels waaaaay better than any dress or purse. I love how you put things into perspective:)

    1. Hi Jillian! Yes, freedom and some security do feel way better than anything we can buy at a store. I am glad to help remind us to keep things in perspective 🙂

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