We Are All Vince Young

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The Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday that former Texas great Vince Young is out of work and out of money.  According to the Statesman:

“Six years after entering the NFL as the third player taken in the draft, Vince Young finds himself without a team and with just a fraction of the money he received from a contract that guaranteed him $26 million.”

“Young is suing his former agent, Major Adams, and a North Carolina financial planner, Ronnie Peoples, alleging that they misappropriated $5.5 million. In some instances, the pair forged his signature or impersonated him on the phone or in emails, according to the lawsuit, filed in Houston in June.

The suit was filed five days after a New York lender notified Young that a loan of nearly $1.9 million obtained in his name during the NFL lockout in 2011 was in default. Young is now seeking to stop the lender, Pro Player Funding LLC, from enforcing a judgment of nearly $1.7 million, claiming he wasn't involved in obtaining the loan and that the proceeds went to Adams and Peoples.”

With 26 million pre-tax dollars in the bank, the question follows: where did it all go?  Two even nastier currents underlie that question: 1) Just another dumb football player who wasted his money; and 2) if I had that much money, that would never happen to me.   If only .

Young's case is not noteworthy because he's “bad with money.”  Young's case is news because of who he is and because of the scale of the losses (for a single man; banks are another order of magnitude entirely).  But Young's case is not unique.  Many (arguably, most) people are bad with money.  A few figures begin to illustrate how widespread Young's problem is.  

BANKRUPT TEXAS

According to the American Bankruptcy Institute , in 2007, there were approximately 822,000 non-business (i.e.: consumer) bankruptcy filings in the United States.  In 2008, that number rose to more than 1 million, reaching more than 1.3 million annual non-business bankruptcy filings in the United States in 2011.

The total number of bankruptcy filings in Texas last year was 51,995, with 93.24% of those being non-business, or consumer, and totaling 48, 442, up from 40,451 in 2007.

Tax figures are also illuminating.  According to a 2011 article in USA Today, sourced with numbers from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, in fiscal year 2010, the IRS filed tax liens against more than 1 million taxpayers.  Generally, taxpayers with liens against them are taxpayers who could not timely pay their tax liabilities and who had not entered into a payment arrangement or offer in compromise with the IRS.  

Notably, these bankruptcy filings and IRS liens only account for those who went into the system in those particular years. Those numbers do not account for those already in the system and subject to workouts of various types.  For instance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will normally take between three and five months to proceed through the federal court system.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case permits a bankrupt debtor to pay debts over a time period often lasting between three and five years.  Moreover, those numbers don't account for those who have yet to appear on the grid.  

This is to say that at any given time, the number of people who can relate to Vince Young from a balance sheet perspective may correspond significantly to the number of people who brand Vince Young a spendthrift getting his comeuppance.

NONPROFITS FOR THE UNPROFITABLE

So, what's a taxpayer or debtor to do?  If you are Vince Young, you can sue your former business partners or managers and try to resolve the situation with not inexpensive counsel or advocates.  If, however, you're not Vince Young (despite any similarities in debt to income ratio), help lies elsewhere.  

With money in hand, a reputable attorney or financial advisor could be a prudent choice to help navigate those shallow legal and financial shoals.  However, when the very problem blocks access to the solution, there are always nonprofits.  Some offer counseling and legal services; others offer financial education services of varying degree and scope.  A quick Google search focused on Central Texas yielded I Live Here, I Give Here, which, among other things, catalogues nonprofits that can help those in financial distress and those who want to avoid it in the first place.  For instance, and without endorsing any service or program, we were able to find the Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas .  

The point is that there is a robust demand for these services and apparently, a supply to meet it.  So, America and Texas, denounce Vince Young, get it out of your system, and then dig out the pile of unopened bills on the kitchen table and get to work.  You've got a lot of it.  

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3 Comments

  1. Yes, we are all MILLIONAIRES

    Sorry, we are all NOT Millionaires despite the fact most Americans think they are on the verge of breaking into the top 5% of income earners (stats available to back this up).

    Two things wrong with this column about Vince:

    1. NO Sympathy for the Rich. That's RIGHT, I said DO NOT HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THE RICH. Whatever problems they have they have more than enough money to make dealing relatively painless compared to the AVERAGE WORKING AMERICAN.

    If you must feel Sorry for someone FEEL SORRY FOR AMERICAN WORKERS WHO HAVE BEEN GETTING SCREWED FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS.

    2. WE ARE NOT ALL MILLIONAIRES. Despite the fact the Media, including even BOR apparently, are in LOVE with the filthy rich – Most of us – like 95% are not actually that wealthy at all.

    IMAGINE, if you will, what reporting would be like IF the Lamestream Media actually catered to its REAL AUDIENCE of folks LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK?

    I know sounds like the former Soviet Union when I mention Poor People.

  2. Bankruptcy for average Americans
    Unless he was the a victim of fraud, a possibility which I'm not discounting, I don't have a lot of sympathy.

    I don't have the statistic in front of me but a majority of bankruptcies result from health problems and the high cost of health care and the stupid way our health insurance system is run.  Hopefully Obamacare will put a dent in this.

    For someone like Vince it's very difficult to go bankrupt if you're as rich as he is unless you're spending money very, very frivolously and irresponsibly.  Whereas a middle or working class individual can do most or even everything right and still end up bankrupt.

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