Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie: 'I'm not going to be one of these rookies that blows his money'

Courtesy Spencer Dinwiddie

In his six years in the NBA, Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has navigated career ups and downs that put his lifelong dream of making it as a professional basketball player in doubt. Thanks to a savings mentality that he adopted early on, along with a healthy dose of perseverance, Dinwiddie was able to make a comeback.

Dinwiddie spoke with Grow about the most valuable money lessons he's learned, and his philosophies on spending, saving, and retirement.

Savings mentality: 'Understand what fun you can have'

Dinwiddie started his NBA career in 2014 with the Detroit Pistons, signing a three-year contract worth $2.5 million. During that time, he saved aggressively, amassing "several hundred thousands" within two years.

"I had a fairly small budget compared to what I was earning," Dinwiddie says. "I was like, 'Nah, man, I'm not going to be one of these rookies that blows his money. I'm not going to do it. I cannot do it.'"

NBA star Spencer Dinwiddie explains how to make the most of your big chance

Video by Jason Armesto

He was able to strike a balance, spending money on what mattered to him at the time (mostly video games), while being realistic about what he could afford, especially when it came to items that might not hold value.

"I had a very modest perspective and lifestyle in terms of what fun meant to me," Dinwiddie recalls. "I'm very big on do what is within your means, within your range. You should never be so constricted that you can't have fun. You just have to understand what fun you can have."

Biggest money lesson: 'Always have an eye on it'

Dinwiddie grew up in the Los Angeles area, and writes on his website that "dedication to hard work" was instilled by his parents, Stephanie and Malcolm. Lessons about money also started at a young age for Dinwiddie, who's now 26.

"I got to give a lot of credit to my dad," Dinwiddie says. "He's a real estate agent, and so the concepts of entrepreneurship, money, real estate, sound investing, stuff like that — I was introduced to it pretty early."

In particular, Dinwiddie says the biggest lesson he learned is that it's important to understand your own finances, including when money is coming in and going out.

I'm not going to be one of these rookies that blows his money. I'm not going to do it, I cannot do it.
Spencer Dinwiddie
Brooklyn Nets

"One of the things [my dad] never wanted me to do as a NBA player was to just pass my money off and never have an eye on it, or never have an idea of where it's going or how it's working," Dinwiddie recalls.

"Whatever it is that I chose to do, or even whatever my financial advisors chose to do or recommended me to do with the money, he wanted me to always have an eye on it and always have an understanding of not only what they were doing, but why."

Saving for retirement: 'Planning for those moments'

Dinwiddie's retirement from his primary career in basketball will happen decades before it will for most people, and he wants to ensure that he does everything possible now so he can enjoy his second act. "The only way you're going to do that is by saving, by planning for those moments."

He's mindful that the majority of his earnings are likely to come relatively early in life. "My retirement's going to be from 35 to 100 instead of 65 to 100, so I have to plan for 70 years," Dinwiddie says. "If i'm not doing that now, you're going to be hard-pressed to squeeze two years worth of savings into a 70-year time frame and expect to be comfortable."

How Brooklyn Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie plans his financial future

Video by Jason Armesto

Dinwiddie can already picture his future: a home in Malibu, California, that overlooks the ocean, and time with his family.

"I just want to be a dad," he says. "Anything I decide to do on top of that would have to come from a place of passion and truly wanting to do that, because I feel like I've put in so much work and grinded and fought and clawed and all that stuff since I was 4 at this journey and at this game. And when I do decide to leave and I do decide to hang it up, I'm going to be at peace with that."

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.