He has been secretly frugal with his money, which has helped him save most of his post-tax NFL earnings.
In the world of sports, where extravagance and luxury are the order of the day, Chad Johnson, the renowned former NFL star, continues to stand apart with his refreshing and conscientious approach to money. Known for his larger-than-life persona on the field, marked by unabashed trash-talking and unforgettable touchdown celebrations, Johnson remains markedly different off the field.
Johnson, who famously changed his last name to “Ochocinco” in homage to his jersey number 85, has consistently made a statement, not just with his game, but with his life choices. One of these is his distinctive approach to handling his finances.
In one of the episodes of Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast, Johnson bared his soul about the pressures of living a life that is on constant display. He questioned the society’s obsession with image, wealth, and the never-ending race to look “fly” every day.
He questioned, “There’s nothing I can buy that’s bigger than my name alone. So it made no sense. But everybody’s caught up in image and looking a certain way and being rich. Do you know how hard it is to live like that consistently and be fly every day?”
Johnson is a man of simple needs and doesn’t harbor a penchant for ostentatious luxuries. He finds satisfaction in efficient means of transport, choosing budget airlines like Spirit over private jets. Similarly, his jewelry collection doesn’t include extravagant watches, rings, or necklaces. Instead, he often sports affordable accessories from Claire’s, a staple store located in many shopping malls, often known for ear piercings.
Johnson’s philosophy of frugality and financial discipline is reflected in his financial standing. Over an impressive 11-season career, mostly spent with the Cincinnati Bengals, he reportedly saved between 80 and 83% of his post-tax earnings. Out of a $48 million salary, he held onto an estimated $24 million after taxes. This disciplined financial management aligns with his current estimated net worth of $15 million.
In a climate where many sports personalities tend to overindulge and end up facing financial difficulties, Johnson’s prudent approach to money management is not just for himself but also serves as sound advice for his peers. He cautioned against the reckless spending habits that many fall into, thinking they can readily earn back what they spend.
The professional football player stated, “People think the fix to the problem is, ‘well, give me more money, I’ma be alright.’ But the more you make, the more you spend — if you have no discipline and structure.”
His advice doesn’t just pertain to his fellow athletes but serves as a valuable life lesson for everyone. Johnson touched upon the societal pressure to conform and impress others, saying that a lot of people live or dress a certain way to impress others, who, in reality, “don’t really care nothing about you.”
With that, he invites people to reflect upon their motivations behind lavish purchases. If it is to satisfy personal happiness or to extend kindness towards others, such as leaving a generous tip at a restaurant – another of Johnson’s practices – then it’s money well spent. But if the intent is merely to showcase wealth or gain status, Johnson suggests considering other, more fulfilling alternatives.
Johnson’s wisdom underscores the importance of living within one’s means and valuing personal satisfaction over societal validation, an essential reminder in a culture that too often glorifies excess.