Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fritter Dilemma

Some people come into money and fritter it away -- others have a knack for turning money into more money.

Jim Lindsey graduated from high school in Forest City, Ark., in 1962. He went on to the University of Arkansas and played football under Coach Frank Broyles. As a 6-2, 210 tailback, he helped the Razorbacks become national champions in 1964. And by the time he graduated in 1965, they had won 22 games in a row.

In 1966, Lindsey was drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings under Coach Norm Van Brocklin.

Bud Grant was hired to replace Van Brocklin in 1967 and Lindsey fit right in the new coach's system as a role player (backup running back and tight end) and soon became special team's captain on all the kicking plays.

Lindsey was a marginal offensive player for the Vikings, ever fearful he wouldn't make the team. He rushed for a total of 566 yards and six touchdowns, and received 65 passes for 632 yards and four touchdowns over seven seasons. But on special teams he was invaluable at breaking up wedges on kickoffs and covering punts.

Having played for Frank Broyles in college, Lindsey developed a deep appreciation of coaching. Throughout his seven years in pro football, Lindsey always assumed he would someday be a football coach, probably at the high school level somewhere in Arkansas or perhaps even back at his college alma mater.

As a second round draft pick back in 1966, Lindsey signed a three-year deal with the Vikings which paid an annual salary of $25,000 in the first year, $27,500 the second year and $30,000 the third year. He also received a signing bonus of $90.000. After taxes, the up-front cash bonus had been reduced to $60,000.

Lindsey was a small-town kid who majored in math in college. Instead of frittering away his fresh wad of cash on instant frills (cars, jewelry, etc.), he made a $60,000 down payment on a $167,000 chunk of Arkansas land.

Payments on the land came out of his salary while he and his wife lived modestly in a rented apartment.

Three years after purchasing the land, he sold it for $1.5 million.

Lindsey never did get into coaching, but he did start a real estate investment company in Fayetteville called Lindsey & Associates, plus he currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Arkansas as chairman of the athletic committee.

Presently, Lindsey owns 27,500 apartment units, 12,000 acres of farmland and 28 golf courses. Not including income from the apartment building operation (which is spread over the Ozarks to Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee), Lindsey & Associates did $800 million in sales last year.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was also a member of the University of Arkansas football team at the same time as Lindsey. He and Lindsey are currently embarking on a five-year project to construct 5,000 apartment units, at a cost of $50 million, on 270 acres in the Dallas area.

And the rich get richer once again.

Unless you're born into it, money is hard to come by in this world, especially if you have to work for someone else. If you start your own business it's even harder because it requires a personal commitment, diligence and plenty of good luck along the way. And no matter how much effort you put into it, success is never guaranteed.

So if you suddenly acquire a large sum of cash, don't fritter it away on flashy goodies or get-rich-quick schemes -- invest it wisely in something worthwhile, such as real property or furthering your own enterprise.

If you define success by the size of your bankroll, you need to follow certain steps, starting with a long-term plan. Then be prepared to sacrifice personal luxury, remain persistent and have the patience to see it through.

Personally, I believe success is being content with everyday life, regardless of the surrounding insanity.

I've solved all my money problems the easy way -- by not having very much of it; just enough to maintain a debt-free existence and never any extra money to fritter away on anything beyond the bare necessities of life.

To fritter or not to fritter, that is the question.

But it's only a dilemma if you have more money than you need.

Quote for the Day -- "I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present." Donald Trump

Bret Burquest, author of four novels, has recently published THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY (esoteric knowledge) and 1111 HAPPY TRAILS ROAD (humor) -- available on Amazon. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and has a small jar of quarters for emergency transactions.

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