Delvin Joyce is a former professional athlete. He joined the financial services industry and started working Prudential in 2006 and held several leadership roles in addition to working as a financial planner.
Here, he reveals the biggest lesson he learned about money.
When did you truly become financially conscious?
I became financially conscious during my rookie year in the NFL when I was 23 and making more money weekly than I had ever seen in my entire life. During that time, I didn’t make big extravagant purchases like cars, homes or jewelry like some of my teammates; I bought electronics. I distinctly remember a trip to Best Buy in 2002. My intent was to just buy an iPod, but I walked out of the store with an iPod, a TiVo and a new stereo system for my apartment, among other things. As I walked to my car with a cart full of toys that I didn’t need and didn’t intend to buy, I realized that just because I could buy something didn’t mean I should buy it. I made my mind up that day that I would have to resist my impulses, start telling myself “no” and delay gratification. That turning point put me on a path to saving enough money to buy my first home — a home I still live in 14 years later.
What does financial success look like to you?
Financial success is having all your short-term needs covered, long-term goals adequately funded and wealth that will last for future generations.
Who taught you how to be financially savvy?
I’ve learned financial savviness through my education and training in the financial services industry, but my clients have been my best teachers as I’ve had the benefit of learning from their mistakes and successes alike.
When did you get your first credit card or line of credit?
I got my first credit card within two days of my freshman year at college. It had a $500 credit limit and I maxed it out within 30 days. I didn’t understand credit cards or credit in general and ultimately my account ended up in collections. After a couple of semesters of avoiding the collection agency’s phone calls, I finally scraped up enough money from cutting hair to pay off the balance. Lesson learned.
What do you know about your finances now that you wish you had known earlier?
I wish I had known the power of a disciplined investment strategy and compounded growth through stock market gains. In my house growing up, the stock market was for “rich people.” But if I had understood that a consistent minimal investment and time would have helped me along the way, I would likely have accumulated a lot more wealth at this point in my life.
If you could tell people one thing they must do to live a stress-free financial life, what would that one thing be?
Cash is king. If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy it. Debt will rob your future financial sanity.
What is the biggest lesson about money that you have learned?
The biggest lesson about money I’ve learned is that you should make your money work harder than you, not the other way around. A sound investment strategy and consistent saving can help put you on a path to wealth accumulation.
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