Juan Anderson: Playing and Saving Abroad
Q: Tell us about your basketball experiences in Mexico; how does it compare to playing in the States?
A: My situation is great, when you put it in perspective. I think this is what it's all about, perspective. Being happy. I think everybody wants to be in the NBA, and no amount of money is never "enough" money, everybody wants the million dollar contracts. You just kinda have to take it for what it is and be happy that you get paid to play the game you love. Of course I want to continue to progress and make more money, but perspective is what it's all about.
It's a lot of fun...when I played in the states, I played at Marquette. Which is the highest level of college basketball. Big budget, unlimited gear, etc. That no longer exists now that I'm playing in Mexico. You have to buy your own gear, and I don't travel as lavishly as I once did, but as I said before - PERSPECTIVE. I get paid to play the game I love so I've learned to stop complaining about the things that don't REALLY matter. This job is better than a 9-5 sitting in a cubicle, for me at least. I get to see the world, and so many other perks it has that money can't buy.
Q: What has been the biggest adjustment for you in your career so far?
A: Being in a different country. Being away from your family is one thing but being in a different country is another. Different customs. Different language. Etc. You have to be open minded and WILLING to adjust. I think that's the biggest thing, being willing. Some are willing and some aren't... your situation is what you make of it.
Q: After a stellar four-year college career, did you feel ready to properly manage your own money?
A: Ready? No. But my secret is to just save. Everybody wants to buy nice clothes, shoes, jewelry, and that's cool and all but at the end of the day, we don't make the big dollars like the guys in the league. You have to save. You don't know when you're going to be done playing. Could be tomorrow, could be in 10 years. You never know. I've always wanted to invest, but I don't really know just how yet. So, I save until I learn. Have to be smart with your money. Spend in moderation.
Q: What are some way you think student athletes who are planning to pursue a professional career can get proper knowledge for financial planning?
A: Talk to other pros. I think that's one of the best ways. Everybody who isn't making that type of money will tell you to just save. In which you can't go wrong, but I think you can learn a lot from other athletes. Their mistakes, their advice, etc. I think it's very important to talk to veterans. I pick my vets' brains constantly. They probably get annoyed by it, but I think it's the best way. Things are a little more realistic due to similar salaries/jobs.
Q: Being fresh out of college and making money right away, is it hard saying no to friends who don't make as much as you and they need some of your financial support?
A: Yes it is. You want to have fun. Go shopping. Go out to eat along with many other things. All your friends don't make the same money you do, so I think you're willing to help them and pay for people to come along until you start noticing how those little meals and things add up. And it adds up very quick. But as I said before, spend in moderation. Give yourself a budget. It's hard, but if you're at least trying, you're taking a step in the right direction. At the end of the day, you are going to spend money. Everything costs. But at some point you have to realize what's worth buying and what's not. That comes with time and maturation.
Juan Anderson is currently a professional basketball player in Mexico. Juan grew up a top high school prospect in Oakland, California and played his college basketball at Marquette University.