This is a tale of another pro athlete who lost his playing wealth.

But this isn’t about fast and fancy cars, expensive vacations, and picking up the tab for an entourage. This is a story of business dreams dashed. I meet so many people who dream of being entrepreneurs. That’s what happened to former National Football League player Marques Ogden, who was once worth $4 million.

“By the spring of 2013, the former-player-turned-developer had lost everything,” wrote CNNMoney’s Kathryn Vasel. “His once-thriving business had failed, his home was foreclosed on, his two cars were repossessed and his credit was shot. With just $1,800 in his bank account, he filed for personal bankruptcy.”

How did Ogden lose his fortune? He made some classic mistakes that many entrepreneurs make. He put all his personal finances on the line. Ogden launched a construction company, which initially had some success. But then things went terribly wrong with one contract.

“He funded the venture with part of the $2.5 million he had saved playing football, but he also took out credit and home loans,” Vasel reported. “He tried to keep the company afloat by pumping in personal funds, but it was too late.”

Ogden told Forbes’ Carlos Dias Jr., “I never overspent while playing in the NFL, lived in a townhouse, always drove pre-owned cars and did everything right according to most financial advisors and this one wrong business move cost me everything.”

Color of Money Question of the Week

Would you put your personal finances on the line for your start-up? Send your comments to Please put “How to lose $2 million in 90 days” in the subject line. Include your name, city and state.

Live Chat

I’m away again this week, but filling in for me is The Washington Post’s Rodney Brooks, who writes a retirement column, and Jonnelle Marte, who covers personal-finance issues. Click the link to join the discussion.

Color of Money Column
Did you catch my recent column in which I announced my selection for this month’s Color of Money Book Club? It’s an interesting pick.

Degree and debt but no job

Anna Alaburda sued Thomas Jefferson School of Law for fraud when she couldn’t find a job after graduation. Alaburda, who graduated in 2008, felt misled by the San Diego law school, which reported that 80 percent of its recent graduates found jobs within nine months. Alaburda ended up with more than $150,000 in debt.

A jury ended up rejecting Alaburda’s claim that she was misled about the employment figures. For last week’s Color of Money Question of the Week I asked: Do you think the jury let the law school off the hook?

“For Anna Alaburda we don’t know what area of law she was trying to get into,” wrote Andrew Smith of Santa Rosa, Calif. “Maybe she would not take any job to get your foot in the door for lawyer experience.”

Diane Speros of New York City wrote: “I think the jury was absolutely right. I find it amazing that this student would sue the law school because she couldn’t find work. No one forced her to take on that amount of debt. And no one can guarantee you a job — not even in a family business. I’m tired of hearing about grads whining about their debt. You don’t have to go to the school that will leave you saddled with a six-figure debt. And if you do, you better figure out how to pay for it before you enroll.”

“I don’t think the jury let the school off the hook,” wrote Jamel Wray Walker of Herndon, Va. “No degree guarantees a job.”

Ethel Tijerino of Fort Myers, Fla., wrote: “Getting a degree is not a guarantee for success. Just like having no degree is not a guarantee to fail or not be successful. There are many examples of very wealthy, successful and accomplished people in all different businesses. The school does not owe her anything.”

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to