Darius K

(P1) When Darius Kasparaitis was DRAFTED by the New York Islanders in 1992, his new job came with a large SALARY.

(P2) OVERNIGHT, the 19-year-old went from making roughly $100 a month playing for the Dynamo Moscow, a Russian professional ice-hockey club, to earning over $400,000 a year.

(P3) “Getting money like that as a 19-year-old, I had NO CLUE what to do,” Kasparaitis remembers. “I didn’t know the value of money. I didn’t know how much things cost and how much things should cost. I would carry $5,000 cash in my pocket — and that was back in 1992!”

(P4) His first purchase was a $4,000 Versace jacket. Soon after, he added a pair of Versace boots and SPLURGED on a $60,000 car.

(P5) “I realized you can spend it very fast,” Kasparaitis says. “By the end of my first year, I was out of money.”

(P6) Of course, this wasn’t an IMMEDIATE problem for the Islanders defenseman, who would continue playing professionally until 2009 and make $23 million during his career. “As long as you have a three- or four-year contract, you still have money coming in,” he explains. “I used to say, ‘We live once. Money is made to spend, not to save.'”

(P7) It wasn’t until later in his career that he REALIZED: “It’s not how much you make — it’s how much you save.”

(P8) Earning a lot of money doesn’t make you rich. A $400,000 salary doesn’t GUARANTEE wealth — it’s just a number, and if the cash behind that number is not managed properly, it can disappear quickly.

(P9) That moment of realization came for Kasparaitis when he signed with the New York Rangers in 2002. “When I signed my deal with the Rangers, I realized that was probably my last big contract, so I started saving money,” he explains.

(P10) Sure, he wishes he could have back the money that he spent in his early 20s, but he learned a VALUABLE lesson. “Now I really know the value of money,” he says. “In the past six years since RETIRING from hockey, I’ve realized that the older players I knew were very right when they said save, don’t spend.”

(P11) Today, he’s built a new career as the president of a Florida-based REAL ESTATE company. He no longer lives a LAVISH lifestyle.

(P12) “Right now, I’m very relaxed,” he says. “I don’t spend like I used to, and I’m happy where I am.”

WORDS: 403



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Are you a saver or spender?
  3. What is the nicest thing you ever bought for yourself?
  4. Would you like to be rich, or are you happy with the money you have?
  5. What is an important lesson that you have learned as you have gotten older?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • No clue
  • Real estate

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