It's not unusual for young NFL players to ask Rob Gronkowski for money advice. After all, the Patriots tight end has proven to be financially savvy since he was drafted in 2010: He hasn't touched a dime of his career NFL earnings and has chosen instead to live off of his endorsement money.
On a new episode of UNINTERRUPTED's "Kneading Dough," Gronkowski told host Maverick Carter about the money advice he gave to a teammate this year: "He came up to me and he's like, 'Hey Rob, you got a Hummer. I want to get a Hummer but my agent's telling me I shouldn't get a Hummer. You know, it costs too much — like 22 grand. What do you think?'"
Gronkowski asked what he was currently driving. It turns out, the player was paying $400 a week for a rental.
"I was like, 'Dog, hurry up and buy that damn Hummer."
"That was mind blowing to me," Gronkowski continued. "He's paying $400 a week for the last six weeks. I'm like, 'Dude, hurry up and put the down payment on the Hummer. Go get the Hummer. You basically already bought it.'"
Experts generally back Gronkowski's advice to buy if possible, including car connoisseur Jay Leno. "I always think it's better to buy a car," the host of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" tells CNBC Make It. "Everyone seems to lease now. Everyone thinks you can write off this and write off that, and to a certain extent, you can. But at the end of the lease, you don't have anything."
There are pros and cons to both leasing and owning that you'll want to consider. Lease payments per month are typically cheaper than loan payments per month. Buying offers more flexibility, though: The car is yours to keep or sell, and you don't have to worry about going over an annual mileage limit. Plus, once you pay off your auto loan, you eliminate a fixed monthly cost and won't have to worry about a car payment until you buy again.
In an ideal world, you'd pay for your car in cash and avoid loans completely, says Leno. Of course, he is in the enviable position of being a high earner — he reportedly made as much as $30 million a year at the height of his career — but he was financially conservative long before he hit it big. He says he didn't buy his first home until he had the necessary cash.
After all, Leno says, "when you don't have to write checks every month, you're just better off."
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