Pulse: Chatter: Wisdom: Winning Advice

Managing your money with Bernard Hopkins

Most Philadelphians know Bernard Hopkins—who boxes at the Liacouras Center on December 2nd—as the 10-year world middleweight champ who creamed guys like Oscar De La Hoya. And though he may be the best boxer ever born and bred in Philly, his achievement outside the ring may be even more impressive. Hopkins, a teenage mugger on Germantown Avenue before incarceration turned his life around, has lived frugally and managed his millions in fight earnings like a pro—unlike countless other boxers who frittered away their fortunes. Now he’s the Warren Buffett of boxing, a guy who owns real estate in Miami, Pasadena and Philly, some of it acquired during the downturn while others were panicking. We caught up with the talkative “Executioner,” who agreed to share his money tips:

 “I invest in municipal government bonds. It’s not a big return, but it’s a steady flow. My principal is not being gambled. I sleep good. As long as the government is in the position to print money, which they do when they want, that’s a great investment.”

   “Stocks? That’s like gambling on the street corner. I don’t want to work all my life doing what I do, and then I can lose it in one crap roll. A lot of those guys had all their money in 401Ks and got Madoffed. I got it now, but what about 10, 20 years from now? I don’t wanna be like Tyson on Oprah.”

   “With real estate, number one is location. Second, how old is the building? Can stuff be replaced without being replaced totally—old to new, brick to stucco? And then, whatcha gonna do with it? Rental? How much money does the house need put into it to get the rent you want? Everybody wants to know if a school’s nearby. You don’t want a school across the street from your property. But around the corner, yes.”

    “I respect money. I have a few toys. But at the end of the day, if a person spends money and shows money, they’ve got some kind of insecurity about themselves. It’s a disease. What’s the point of showing your wealth? You think more people are gonna be mad at you or happy for you?”

   “Think like a squirrel. When he don’t need it, he don’t eat it. He buries it. The squirrel set up banks thousands of years ago, because he invested it. And he never puts all his nuts in one hole.”