Former NFL Player Calvin Johnson: The Worst Financial Decision I Ever Made

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rick Osentoski/AP/Shutterstock (9272825dt)Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) during warm ups before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field in Detroit49ers Lions Football, Detroit, USA - 27 Dec 2015.
©Rick Osentoski/AP/Shutterstock

NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson retired from the league in 2016 after nine seasons playing for the Detroit Lions. Johnson, whose first job was bagging groceries, had a lot to learn about finance when he started making big bucks as a pro football player. He now boasts a net worth of $45 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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Here’s how Johnson manages his wealth, plus his biggest money regrets.

The Worst Financial Decision He’s Ever Made

While appearing on “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” Johnson shared that he regrets lending money to family and friends.

“You loan money and you think you’re going to get it back, especially [from] people that are close to you, but I would tell anybody now, if you’re loaning money to a friend or anyone close to you, just know that you’re not getting it back,” he said. “I’ve loaned a lot of money to people and I’ve grown. I’m just like, ‘OK, I know I’m not going to get it back.’ It’s cool with me now, but what that does though is it sours relationships. Money you can always get back, but relationships, you’ve got to cherish those.”

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Johnson said to avoid involving money in family and friend relationships, if possible.

“Money can easily mess up a relationship,” he said.

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The Best Financial Advice He Received

As an NFL player, Johnson had a lot of contracts come his way — and he quickly learned that it’s best to leave the review of those contracts to the pros.

“[The] best financial advice I ever received was probably from my attorney — ‘Just let me read everything you get,'” he said. “Those attorneys, they pull out like, ‘OK, this isn’t right. This little sentence right here can be the difference in, you’re getting your money or you’re not.’ Stuff like that, stuff that I wouldn’t see.”

How He Manages His Money

Much like his legal documents, Johnson turns to professionals for help with managing his money.

“I have a great team,” he said. “They’ve been around for a very long time, and one thing that they have done that others haven’t is just being very, very big on education. Anything I need, anything I don’t know, anything I might not know, I’ve got people over there that are great at explaining anything I need to know.”

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How He Saved Money Before He Found Success

When asked how he saved money before achieving financial success, Johnson confessed that he didn’t.

“I had no money,” he said. “It just went from not having anything to having something. My first job was bagging groceries at Publix and my second job was actually working at Delta, putting the bags on the plane. The money that we made from that, I spent pretty fast probably. I’m trying to think [about] what happened to that money in college. We didn’t make a whole lot of money, maybe a couple of thousand dollars, but that goes fast!”

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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