Most of us feel indebted to our parents to varying degrees, but do we actually owe them a fee for raising us? Phillip Buchanon says that, after he was drafted, his mother made that very claim, to the tune of a cool million dollars.
Buchanon, the 17th overall pick in the 2002 draft, was a defensive back who played for the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, Lions and Redskins before retiring in 2011. He recently wrote a book about personal finance, “New Money: Staying Rich,” dispensing some of the hard lessons he learned over the course of his career.
A portion of his book was excerpted by Fox Sports, and in it, Buchanon talks about his experiences with his mother. One incident in particular stands out:
Soon after the draft, she told me that I owed her a million dollars for raising me for the past 18 years. …
The covenant of having a child is simply that you give your child everything possible, and they owe you nothing beyond a normal amount of love and respect. There is no financial arrangement. If you get old and infirm, and your kids are around to help you out at that point, then you’re lucky. It’s not written in the social contract. …
My mother had said my debt to her was a million dollars before, but this time she was more serious than ever. If you do the math, one million dollars divided by 18 years of raising me was approximately $55,555.55 a year in restitution. Except, at age 17 I decided to move out of my mom’s house, choosing to live with a close friend and his father because I no longer felt secure in my own home. Why, you ask? Because my mother let people come in and out of our house and take what they wanted. So technically, even if we went by her logic, I only owed her $944,444.44 for her services over 17 years.
Buchanon also discusses buying a house for his mother, as well as being on the hook for that and other properties he didn’t use himself. Those anecdotes, plus tales of other relatives asking for financial help, sound similar to stories of new-found wealth from countless other professional athletes.
But getting essentially charged a fee for being born and raised, while likely not the first time that’s ever happened, sounds fairly unusual. Did Buchanon’s mother consider for a moment that he hadn’t asked to be born?
It’s apparent from the ex-cornerback’s excerpt that, no, he didn’t pay his mom the money. After receiving a reported five-year, $12-million rookie contract, Buchanon did buy her a fancy house, and he seems to have eventually developed a very good perspective on things.
Even after admitting that writing about his mother’s request/demand “enrages” him, Buchanon, in the excerpt, still comes to this conculsion:
It’s true; mothers have a way of making you learn the most important lessons in life.