We always say that when we get rich the first thing we’d do is buy our mom a house. What do you do if your mother wants to cash in on your success? Former NFL Baller, Phillip Buchanon, tells the cautionary tale of how his own mother demanded a million dollars from him after he got drafted at 18 years old and how he got stuck footing the bill on a huge mansion.
Buchanon was a first round pick in 2002 and it wasn’t long after his contract signing with the Raiders that his mother presented him with a bill. A bill for what, you ask? For raising him.
“Soon after the draft, she told me that I owed her a million dollars for raising me for the past 18 years,” Buchanon says, “Well, that was news to me. If my mother taught me anything, it’s that this is the most desperate demand that a parent can make on a child. The covenant of having a child is simply that you give your child everything possible, and they owe you nothing beyond a normal amount of love and respect. There is no financial arrangement. If you get old and infirm, and your kids are around to help you out at that point, then you’re lucky. It’s not written in the social contract.”
Buchanon didn’t write his mom that million dollar check but he did end up buying her a house. Then his mother started demanding money for the mortgage and upkeep of her new house AND her old one. Yes you read that right, she kept her old house and made her son pay for it.
“I bought my mother a house,” he says. “I also advised her to sell the old one I grew up in when I put a new roof over her head, but my mother had other plans. Instead of selling my childhood home, she decided to rent it to my aunt. So I had to finance my mother, the budding landlord. Only this wasn’t an investment. It was an encumbrance, because I didn’t share in my mother’s profit-making scheme. For the next seven years, I continued to make mortgage and maintenance payments on both homes.”
Buchanon told his mother that after he completed the mortgage payments on the home, it would be her responsibility from now on. His mother said that she wouldn’t be able to financially maintain a home that big and that it was his fault for buying such a huge house. “In part, she was right,” says Buchanon, “I bought her a house with my luxury taste and no real wisdom behind it. It was an uneducated purchase.” It was then that he made his mother a new offer. He offered to buy her a smaller house, in his name, or give her $15,000 in cash. His mom opted for the cash, telling him that if the new house didn’t have room for two living room sets, she didn’t want it.
Eventually Buchanon stopped supporting his mother (and other family members) but not before pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into them. Family is just one of the many was athletes end up going broke. Unfortunately they will bleed you dry like a stranger in the street.
Phillip Buchanan writes about all of this in his book New Money: Staying Rich which he hopes will keep other young Ballers from making the same mistakes.