Dwyane Wade has a thing for cars. The retired NBA star spent his first big paycheck on an electric blue Escalade. He decked it out with 26-inch rims and spinners, he told Men's Health in a 2020 interview.
At one point, he owned more than a dozen cars. That was before Wade heard what he says is the best money advice he ever got: "To get rid of about 16 cars," including a Maybach he never drove that was costing him $6,000 a month.
At first, he didn't follow the advice, which came from his financial advisor. But Wade eventually conceded and whittled down his collection to just one car: "a modest Audi Q8," he told Men's Health.
Wade, who forewent his senior year at Marquette University to declare for the 2003 NBA draft, wishes he'd been smarter about handling his salary when he was younger. "I regret not having someone early in my career to help teach me about all this money," he said. "I went from making $200-some-odd dollars in college to becoming a millionaire overnight and I didn't know what to do with it."
He blew through his early money quickly. "I ended up saving none," he said. "I spent all of it." Had he known how to spend smarter at the time, "I would be a lot richer today," he added.
Before winning three NBA Championships with the Miami Heat and earning millions of dollars per season, Wade grew up poor in Chicago. "I went 20 years of my life where I didn't have nothing," he told CNBC Make It in 2018.
One of his first jobs was working at a car dealership. "I would be the guy that once someone comes in and they buy a car, I had to wash it up, I had to get it nice for them," said Wade.
His upbringing had a lasting impact on how he approaches money. "The fear of not having is a terrible feeling," he told CNBC Make It. "That never goes away."
"It's something that I carry when I talk to my kids about money, when I talk to them about even the money I give them," the father of four added. "It's really trying to do something to them that I didn't have, to have somebody really educate me on the importance of savings."
After his early money missteps, the 38-year-old has a much clearer financial plan today — and he has an advisor that he meets with quarterly to help him reach his goals.
He's learned that if you have a plan, you know where you're going and it's easier to achieve your goals. As he told Men's Health: "A failure to plan is a plan to fail."
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