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Baseball Great, Gary Sheffield, Shares Most Important Money Lessons


When baseball great and now sports agent, Gary Sheffield, advises clients that he has a wealth of knowledge to draw from.

Sheffield has ‘seen it all’ in his career as a Major League baseball outfielder in which he played with 8 teams, including the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and 1997 World Series Champion Florida Marlins.

[Related: [WATCH] Icon Gloria Steinem Shares Money Lessons with B.E.]

Growing up in Belmont Heights in Florida, near the Ponce de Leon projects, Sheffield and his family lived with his uncle, Dwight Gooden, who was a pitching sensation for the New York Mets.

In addition to having a rare insider’s perspective on the business of baseball, Sheffield has also learned life skills and lessons around money that can help all of us create financial well-being.

BE’s Senior Editor of Personal Finance, Stacey Tisdale, asked Sheffield to share the 3 most important lessons he’s learned about money.

1. Never ‘loan’ a.k.a. give people money based on your emotions. There is a difference between people’s needs and wants. Give to those in true need.

Sheffield: Many people know my uncle is the legendary Doc Gooden, the NY Met’s pitching ace. I had a front row seat as a young guy watching him give money to those he thought would either give him back or look out for him somewhere along the line. He lent, gave money away to be ‘the nice guy.’ I learned a tremendous amount of how to handle the spotlight and the money that comes with it from watching him. I did the opposite.

2. Never use more than 3/4 of your principal.

As a young kid growing up in Tampa, FL, I saw what drugs, violence, hanging out with the wrong folks did to some top talent. It’s the same principle with money and dealing with the fame that comes with being a pro athlete. See what effect it has on others and if it’s detrimental; do the opposite or find someone who is doing right and grab a page from their book.

3. Set retirement goals and retirement purchases no matter how wealthy you think you are. Have something to look forward to after all that hard work. 

[This] definitely has taught me to not take things so seriously, especially the little things. I have a deeply profound appreciation for all the blessings in my life and the provisions I was given and blessed with for my talents; on and off the field. Provisions are a gift. The ability to enjoy a certain type of lifestyle and make business investments into others is a wonderful feeling to enjoy, but as quickly as the money comes, it can go. What I do with each and every dollar I’m blessed with matters to me. That’s the foundation of values.

Now that I am retired from playing and in the business world, I do business with the belief that there is nothing wrong with doing well by doing good.

As for the most important message Sheffield would like to convey about money:

Know what you don’t know! My rule: Get 3 opinions for ANY transaction before you do it no matter what the business investment or purchase is. Get educated in that market. Whether it’s a car, house, big ticket item, hiring a contractor whatever. Get a non- biased professional opinion. It will be the difference in overpaying or getting great value or just not doing anything. Sometimes the best business is doing no business at all.

Black Enterprise

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