Growing up, Baron Davis often heard his grandmother repeat one bit of financial wisdom: “A fool and his money shall soon part.” So instead of playing a fool’s game, the two-time professional basketball All-Star chose to make smart money choices. Now as an entrepreneur, investor and activist, Davis joins Personal Capital, an Empower Company, as our Chief Financial Literacy Ambassador and one of our new Financial Heroes.
As a Financial Hero, Davis stands for the importance of having a solid financial plan and access to resources, especially in times of crisis. He’s partnering with Personal Capital to share his own story of understanding personal finances and jumping into an unexpected early retirement.
“The whole subject of money could be simplified,” Davis told us. “When you look at traditional financial literacy, people think that it comes in a book or pamphlet with words many are not going to know.”
As a young person in Los Angeles, Davis could relate. He didn’t receive any formal financial education, so his grandmother’s adages served as his foundation for financial empowerment. “No matter how much you get, save your money,” she would say. “Don’t let money become who you are. Money is only a tool.”
When Davis went pro at age 19, he worked to learn more about investing wisely in his future.
“I decided to protect myself and understand the power of saving,” he said. “For me, it was an on-the-fly learning experience, but having the right mentors in your life is like going to an MBA class in the league.”
Throughout Davis’ basketball career, his grandmother continued to play an important role in his financial wellness; she often nudged him to consider what he would do if he got hurt. This day came sooner than expected when a knee injury forced Davis into early retirement.
“Looking at the average length of a career, I was just appreciative every time I passed a milestone,” he said. “Your potential earnings as you get older goes down, so just understanding what is next was very important.”
Fortunately for Davis, he had a plan.
Beyond the basketball court
After a 17-year career as a professional athlete, Davis led himself toward a future defined by philanthropy and activism. He founded several companies – Sports and Lifestyle in Culture (SLIC), The Black Santa Company, BIG, and No Label – with the goal of producing educational, inspiring stories. His nonprofit, Rising Stars of America, helps to raise funds for basketball camps and sponsors AAU teams in Los Angeles.
Alongside the many challenges of 2020 – from the global pandemic to systemic racial injustice – Davis acknowledges another issue that remains deeply entrenched in many communities and individual lives: the need for financial literacy.
“This is something that is close to me and my heart,” Davis told us. “Sharing experiences is the best thing I can do for our generation and the next and to be able to equip them with everything that I have learned.”
As a former professional athlete and now a businessman, Davis believes in the power of investing in your community and your financial future. Regardless of background, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, Davis hopes to use his platform and his partnership with Personal Capital as an inspiration for others to learn how to confidently manage their financial situations and build a solid plan for their eventual retirement.
Financial tools for the future
Davis now calls the professional basketball league his “smartest teacher” – for his mentors, learning experiences and post-career financial mapping. Now more than ever, amidst widespread economic strain, financial resources and tools can help empower people to do what Davis has done. Pivot.
“There is nothing wrong with diving into your entrepreneurial skill or talent,” Davis encouraged. “It is also not bad to hit the ground and bounce back up. Some of the greatest successes come from those moments where we think we failed the most.”
Smart money tools should be available to all. It can start with free, professional-grade tools accessible from any device with an internet connection. Davis relies on Personal Capital’s tools because, as he puts it, they are both robust and straightforward. Personal Capital believes in sharing the wealth of financial literacy. The free technology, utilized by millions of users, helps people view their financial picture in a whole new way. You can easily:
- See all your financial accounts in one place
- Set and track your monthly budget
- Calculate your net worth
- Identify any hidden investment fees
- Plan for retirement in real time
“I think it’s great for people who are afraid to take that first step and get to know their finances,” he explained. “It’s like an extended hand helping people make it easy to understand and keep track of where their money is.”