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Shaquille O’Neal, more commonly known as “Shaq,” is one of the greatest basketball players in history and won four NBA championships. Shaq earned an estimated $700 million during his NBA career, ranking tenth on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes of all time.
That’s a lot of money to make during a basketball career, and he’s been keeping busy since retirement. Shaq became an entrepreneur and built a business empire that includes being a brand ambassador and member of the board of directors at Papa John’s, owning Auntie Anne’s restaurants, creating a fashion line and much more.
CNBC Select spoke to Shaq via email to find out what he carries in his wallet, the financial advice he lives by and his tips on how business owners can succeed.
Shaq keeps his wallet simple with his license, law enforcement badge (he’s an auxiliary deputy at the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida) and credit card. He also has a sentimental token: a picture of him and his mother.
The money advice that resonated with Shaq is geared toward savings: “It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep,” Shaq says. “Save 75% of your earnings and put it away. Use the other 25% as you please.”
After all, more money doesn’t necessarily equal more wealth. Someone with a six-figure salary can wind up with no savings if they spend 100% of their earnings. Whereas someone who earns $50,000 and saves 75% will be in a much better financial situation.
If saving 75% of your income is out-of-reach, consider the 50/30/20 rule, which provides more flexibility. This rule suggests you split up your after-tax income so 50% is spent on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings. As your earning change, you can make adjustments and increase savings.
“Save, save, save. Put away a piece of every paycheck,” Shaq says. “Even if it is only $50 or $100, it will add up throughout the year.”
That’s smart money advice, especially if you put your money into a high-yield savings account that earns compound interest. Through an account like Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings, you can earn 0.60% interest on your initial deposit plus accumulated interest, which is essentially like earning interest on interest.
Putting $100 from each paycheck into Marcus, assuming you get paid biweekly, would allow you to earn $8 in interest after a year, and $198 after five years. The more money you save each paycheck, the more your savings will grow.
Business owners have a lot on their plate, and it can be overwhelming to start a new business venture and work on growing your business. Shaq recommends business owners do their due diligence so they can build a successful company.
“This means researching and surrounding yourself with the right people. You have to use your resources and ask for help when you need it,” Shaq says. “You can achieve great things with the proper support system.”
When Shaq is starting a new business venture, he tries to get advice from the best people who work in that field. After all, asking for advice can help you network and expand your business.
If you don’t know where to start, consider free online resources. The upcoming American Express Business Class LIVE: Summit for Success is a free virtual event that aims to support small business owners through networking, resources and tools. In fact, Shaq is a keynote speaker at the event, lending his advice on being an entrepreneur.
In addition to asking for help and surrounding yourself with the right people, Shaq tells business owners to take action: “I’d also say to be a leader who focuses on voice and action. Being able to say something is great, but until you put the action behind it, nothing gets done.”
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.