MY MONEY STORY
The Coach’s Playbook
The popular basketball coach shares life and money skills
By Vicente “Chot” Reyes as told to Tina Arceo-Dumlao
It’s not easy being a professional basketball coach. Aside from motivating big and tall players to give their all, night after night, to chalk up a win for the team, you end up setting some of them aside to give them a pep talk on life, love and, sometimes, money.
Perhaps it is because we are together so much and go through the agony of defeat and the thrill of victory that we become a band of brothers, not unlike soldiers. And I, as their coach, am often asked for advice even outside the hard court.
When they ask me about what to do with their money, the first thing I tell my players, at least those who are interested, is that they should learn to work within a budget. It sounds fundamental and very basic, but you will be surprised at how many of the players do not know the value of working within a certain amount so that there would be enough for all the essentials, like food, shelter, education and, more importantly, savings. Some have not even heard of the concept.
I try to impress upon them the importance of having a budget because I do not want them to end up like so many others before them who once had a lot of money on their hands, only to lose it all after they hang up their jerseys.
I do understand why it is very difficult for many of these players to work within the confines of a strict budget and to live within their means because many of them came from very modest backgrounds. Since they had very little growing up, they do not know exactly what to do when they suddenly earn about P150,000 a month as a top-quality professional basketball player in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Many of them end up buying non-essentials like the latest model car. They do not even think of buying a house yet at the start maybe because they are not yet earning enough. The car is almost always the first thing they buy, which I think is also understandable because they no longer want to take public transport.
The danger though is in buying one expensive thing after another, those they do not really need like jewelry or designer watches, thinking that the money will never end, and that they will always earn what they are earning.
I try to tell them that they will not be in basketball for many years, especially with competition, the prospect of injuries and the very real possibility of being cut from the team when a better and younger player comes along. No one stays at the top of their game forever.
I also tell them to be wary of those who are just hanging around them because they feel that they can get a piece of their resources. Over the years, I have seen players who are faced with relatives, friends, and groupies who suddenly surfaced just because they have money. But to their credit, the players almost always take care of their families. If nothing else, they will make sure that they are provided for – education, shelter, and altogether better living conditions.
They can do more with their money though. This is why many teams invite speakers from insurance companies or real estate brokers to talk to the players – especially the veterans – about what else they can do with their money so they will not spend all of them.
The talks are very informal and with no strings attached. Our idea is to at least give the players an idea of the many possibilities open to them, that they must take advantage of opportunities while they are still earning well. I am happy that many of the players I have coached over the years have been good with their money, so good that they may no longer be professional basketball players but are still earning more than a decent income.
These are players like Jojo Lastimosa, Glenn Capacio, Alvin Patrimonio, and Jerry Codiñera who have long left the PBA but are still cashing in on what they have saved up and invested in during their playing years.
Some of them bought pieces of property. Others went into business while others just saved up because they never lived beyond their means. They did not commit the same mistakes as the others, like buying big houses or expensive cars that they really cannot afford.
Practicing what I preach
I do practice what I preach although I must admit that I have learned through trial and error with the help of my wife, Cherry. But just like I tell my players, we do work within a budget and we do live within our means. That is why we decided, for instance, against splurging on a big house. We still live in our townhouse but it works for us.
We also have a little set aside and have investments in some instruments. But one thing for sure is that we are well insured and we do have a good pension plan so that we won’t be a burden to our four children. We make sure that our retirement money is out of the way.
We are very hands-on in our approach to investments, which is why we do not put our money in trust funds or hedge funds, although we really do not have too much to put in those instruments.
What we have, we invest in our business, which is Essensuals Tony and Guy. We already have three branches and that is where our money is going. I also do not have too much money saved up for the children because I believe that is the surest way to making them lazy, especially since we have three boys. Aside from education and maybe a little something for them, we do not want to leave them with too much. They will have to work for their fortune themselves.
But what we do spend a lot on are vacations and travel together. Those are investments that will not give us any financial return but they are still investments that are truly worth making.
MY MONEY LESSONS
How to Play the Money Game
Chot Reyes teaches his players not only basketball skills but important life skills, including how to handle their money.
1. Start with the basics. The first thing Chot teaches about money is to work within a budget and live within one’s means. It may be very basic but a lot of people don’t even know this fundamental concept.
2. Save for a rainy day. Basketball players may be earning a lot of money in their prime but Chot warns no one stays at the top of their game forever. It applies to any other career. So don’t waste your income on expensive stuff. It’s okay to enjoy your money and especially to help your family but just make sure you save and invest wisely.
3. Make good investments. One good way to augment your income and transition to a new career is to start a business. Chot owns three branches of Essensuals Tony and Guy and takes his hat off to some veteran basketball players who have become entrepreneurs. Invest in real estate and education, and most importantly, invest your time with your family because that’s what truly matters.