When Phillip Buchanon was a first-round draft pick in 2002, his mom decided that his payday would be her payday, too.
Buchanon, who has written a book offering cautionary tales about athletes going broke despite multimillion-dollar contracts, says that once he was drafted, his mom began to demand money. Buchanon says his mom told him the bill for raising him was $1 million, and she wanted it paid back right away.
“Soon after the draft, she told me that I owed her a million dollars for raising me for the past 18 years,” Buchanon says, via FOXSports.com. “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 wisely declined to write his mom a $1 million check, but he did buy his mom a house, which turned out to be more expensive than he expected when she also started demanding money for upkeep not only on the new house, but on her old house, which she declined to sell.
“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.”
Eventually Buchanon stopped giving his family money, but he says he lost several hundred thousand dollars before he reached that point. His book, New Money: Staying Rich, is designed to teach others who come into money at a young age how to say no.