Why 21-year-old NBA star Trae Young's dad made him get a credit card in high school

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on March 26, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jonathan Bachman | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

As the number five pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Trae Young has already made a name for himself as a star athlete. 

In 2018, he signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Under the NBA's rookie wage scale, he is expected to earn $15,167,700 during his first three years in the league. Though he has already earned millions as a young NBA player, the 21-year-old is still modest about how he spends his money.

On a recent episode of the Kneading Dough podcast, Young and his dad, Rayford Young, discuss the many conversations they've had about spending money wisely in order to plan for the future. In fact, Rayford said he started teaching his son about smart financial habits in high school and that he made him get a credit card his junior year.

"He never got to use the credit card much," says Rayford, who is himself a former Texas Tech basketball star. "But I would make sure that when he did it was paid off every month."

Oklahoma Sooners guard Trae Young #11 brings the ball up court against Iowa State during the second half of a NCAA college basketball game at the Lloyd Noble Center on March 2, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma.
J Pat Carter | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Rayford says before his son went off to college, he wanted him to know the importance of managing money and building credit so "when the time came when he needed a car or some other things, he wouldn't hear 'no' because his credit was [already] good."

Young played college basketball at the University of Oklahoma for one year before entering the NBA draft. Since joining the NBA, he says he and his dad have had many discussions about how not to spend his millions. "[It would be] us sitting on the couch and him telling me about certain athletes that have gone broke just because they haven't managed their money the right way," Young says. "We've had multiple of those conversations and I don't want that to happen to me."

That's why the 21-year-old says he's "very aware" of his spending. 

"Throughout the season I am very low key," he says. I don't do very much. I go to the movies every now and then. Most of the time all my money goes to is food, like fast food restaurants."

Like Young, other professional athletes have talked about spending their money wisely after making it in the league. NFL veteran Michael Bennett says that in order to properly manage his money, he actually skips direct deposit and holds on to his checks until the end of the season. To survive, he says, he lives off the money he made in previous years.

Bennett revealed on an episode of "Kneading Dough" that he also offers sounds financial advice to rookie athletes so that they too can set themselves up for long-term success.

"Compound interest is something I talk to a lot of athletes about," says Bennett, "and it's something they don't really understand until you start telling them, 'It's the greatest thing in the world to be sitting on [money] and get a check from somewhere or look at your stock and see it jump exponentially every week or every year.'"

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