What A-Rod Can Teach You About Personal Finance
Alex Rodriguez is facing a 211-game suspension, and a dozen other players will be banned from the field for 50 games in the latest round of fallout from Major League Baseball's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Clearly, some people never learn, but ordinary Americans in less glamorous jobs can learn some valuable lessons from the downfall of A-Rod and other baseball stars.
Even if you aren't a professional athlete, and even if you don't put anything into your body more exotic than the occasional rum-and-coke, here are four personal finance lessons you can take from baseball's PED scandal:
1. Don't overreach for success
What surprises many baseball fans about high-profile PED cheaters like A-Rod and Barry Bonds before him is that they were clearly on their way to Hall-of-Fame careers before they started bulking up on illegal substances. These are people who felt their exceptional natural abilities weren't enough, so they overreached for success. The finance lesson here? Don't overreach for success with your investments. Be willing to sell your winners when they have met your expectations, because nothing has unlimited upside potential.
2. Value your reputation
Retired players associated with PEDs have received little support in Hall-of-Fame voting, and while some active cheaters may continue to benefit from lucrative contracts, their endorsement potential has been badly compromised by this scandal.You may have a lower profile than a star ballplayer, but your reputation is financially important too. Be careful what you post on social media, because leaving your indiscretions where others can see them may cost you job opportunities. Your credit history is another example of how your reputation can have financial repercussions. If you aren't careful with your credit history, you may find you don't qualify for the best rates on mortgage loans or credit cards -- you might not even qualify for credit at all.
3. Save for gaps in employmentUnless his appeal is successful, A-Rod will miss 211 days of work. That sounds like a lot, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average stint of unemployment for Americans is even worse, at about 256 days. Unlike PED cheats, you may face a period of joblessness through no fault of your own, so protect yourself by building up a high-yield savings account that could see you through a stretch that lasts for several months.
4. Don't cheatYou may have no incentive to take PEDs, but ordinary Americans often encounter opportunities to gain a financial benefit by cheating, such as not paying your full share of taxes or padding an expense account. What the baseball players who got caught cheating remind us is that cheaters never fully own their possessions or their lives. If holding onto everything you've worked for depends on not getting caught, you've invited risk to play a starring role in your life.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV