Basketball fans are familiar with the name Kawhi Leonard (seen here on a visit with the Marines), the 27-year-old NBA superstar who led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history. Personally, I admire more than just his defensive prowess. As a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer, I think we can all learn from his financial habits.

In 2016, when he made more than $16 million playing for the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard revealed that he still drove the same 1997 Chevy Tahoe he’d had since high school. Why would a millionaire athlete drive a 20-year-old beat up car?

“It runs, and it’s paid off,” he reportedly said to Sports Illustrated. And frankly, that’s all that matters.

An expensive car can make or break your finances.

If you feel pressure to have your dream car, you’re not alone. Transportation is one of a household’s biggest expenses, second only to housing. Americans are averaging around $10,000 year on a car, including gas, registration, insurance, and more. If you’re already struggling with debt or bad credit, it’s safe to assume the cost will be even higher.

Your financial well-being isn’t a product of too many coffees or expensive meals. Big decisions can make or break your overall situation, arguably much more than hundreds of small decisions added together. Make no mistake: If you’re struggling to make ends meet, a car alone can take you deep into debt. You may even wake up to find your vehicle taken from you.

Car salesmen will say anything you want to hear — anything they need to say to make their sale. They are not concerned with your well-being. However, as a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer, I am.

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, repossession is a real threat.

It’s easy to fall behind on your car payments, but don’t expect lenders to be understanding. When that happens, the repo man will stop at nothing until your car is no longer yours.

A partial payment can’t stop repossession, and there’s no grace period after one missed payment. For the most part, car finance companies can legally repossess your vehicle even if your payment is a day late. In some cases, you will receive a warning, but you are not guaranteed one.

My overall advice is to take a lesson from this year’s NBA Finals MVP. If a professional athlete who made more than $23 million this past season is able to survive without a luxury vehicle, so can you.

If you’re already dealing with financial trouble due to an expensive car, it’s not too late. As a well respected bankruptcy law firm Memphis, TN counts on, we can help guide you through your financial difficulties. I’m a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer who can help you consolidate your debts into an affordable repayment plan.

Call (901) 327-2100 today or contact us here for a free consultation.