Kevin Durant, Finance, and You!

Amidst the craze of today I hope you are standing in good spirits this Wednesday. First, I want to extend thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the events in DC today. Second, I am wishing you an early “Happy Father’s Day.” And, if you’re not a father, I hope you enjoy the fathers in your life. In that vein, I’m sending an early special shout-out to my terrific father, Frank Conanan! Even if you’re not a big basketball fan like me (which I owe to my Daddy), you couldn’t have missed all the hoops and hollerin’ about this past week’s NBA finals, starring the redemptive Golden State Warriors and the defending Cleveland Cavaliers champs.

In case this doesn’t ring a bell, the Warriors won! They added an ace in Kevin Durant to this year’s line-up and Durant is now on top of the hill – NBA champ and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player - because of his brilliant decision to leave the Oklahoma Thunder for the Warriors.  I can only smile and be happy for a man a man who spent 10 long years on a B team before upgrading himself to an A team in the Warriors to give himself a better chance at a prized championship.

We can all learn something, particularly when it comes to our money and wealth, from Kevin Durant’s decision. Here’s what we can draw:

  1. It takes action to make a change, regardless of the potential outcome. Durant spent years trying to make it work on a team, but he needed a change to have a different outcome. Many of us toil in financial stress and dissatisfaction for years before we get to that super low point before we make a change. You can flip the script on its head by making a change before things get so dire. Focus on one action you can take to make a change to your financial situation. I know it’s scary that you don’t know the outcome yet, but that’s part of the faith journey.
  2. Surround yourself with A players, not B. KD went with the A squad in the Warriors. When it comes to your money and wealth, you want to be around A players, from financial advisors, to accountability partners, and people in your life that will strive for excellence when it comes to your money matters.
  3. You Must Play Hard. Durant played with fire in his eyes, whether dunking over 2 people or shooting the lights out with his 3-pointers. When it comes to managing your money, you have to approach the process with your own fire in your eyes. If not you, then who? I’ve talked a lot about being the CEO of your money, and part of assuming this role is also working hard to achieve the goals and outcomes you desire.

Do you have another wealth lesson from the NBA finals? Share it with us.

Kevin Durant is very wealthy, and while he is definitely amongst the top 1% of American earners, we might not be so far from him when it comes to how we think about privilege.

Specifically, I read this weekend’s New York Times piece, “Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich,” which raises some serious questions about American class privilege. My favorite quote:

“The American myth of meritocracy allows them to attribute their position to their brilliance and diligence, rather than to luck or a rigged system.”

I love the British author’s constructive outside perspective. But, the author doesn’t offer up concrete solutions to solve the problem or deal with the complexities of why this is the case. Do you have any ideas for solutions to not simply “raise our consciousness about class,” as the author purports, but also do something about it?  Share your thoughts.