The NFL Draft was held just recently in Nashville.In addition to thousands of people packed down Broadway and Giants’ fans screaming for blood over the premature selection of QB Daniel Jones, one other thing couldn’t help but stand out to me.A number of young men just hit the so called lottery and are about to be paid very handsomely to play a game they love.From afar, they are about to have it all.And they can. But in no way is that guaranteed nor is it unusual for these draft day winners to end up financial losers.And there are lessons to be had for all of us, no matter our profession or salary.
The average NFL career is a little over three years.Players like Tom Brady lasting until their 40’s are the exception, not the rule.More often than not, the player’s career is over in his twenties or early thirties at the latest.So what, say you – they make millions!Well, have you heard of Bernie Kosar, Warren Sapp, Vince Young, Refrigerator Perry? All went broke.That list goes on and on.One statistic cites that 16% of former players declare bankruptcy within 12 years of stepping off the field.
How can this be? They were rolling in it, right? Therein lie the lessons for all of us.
Here are a few of the common missteps:
• Living above your means and “keeping up with the Joneses”.
• Never refusing a request from a “friend” or family member.
• Spending at the same level when no income is coming in as you did when you were employed.
• Never adhering to a budget.
• Investing in ventures you know nothing about.
• Trusting people who make promises that sound far too good to be true.
Some or all of the above not only apply to the former NFL players but to many “normal” folk in retirement.The same dangers lie in wait for all of us.People are living longer than ever.To maintain a desirable quality of life throughout your retirement years, you need a plan and some financial discipline long before the money stops coming in.Starting early, saving often and learning the magic of the word “NO” – are all far more important than the next, best luxury car. Just ask Warren Sapp if he’d like the money he paid for the Bentley back.I think we know the answer.
Original content provided by Gregory Mattacola, Esq., Financial Advisor at Strategic Financial Services in Utica, New York.
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