It is a well-known fact that the majority of professional athletes in the NBA and the NFL have ended up broke or financially struggling within five and two years respectively after they have retired. There are some reasons for this ranging from bad financial advice, poor spending choices, bad investments, embezzlement and legal troubles. The story happens time and time again, yet every year, rookies go into their new career and seem to ignore the fate of those before them. And unfortunately, they appear to continue the pattern only a few years later.

The cause of their fate is most of these players don’t come from backgrounds that have an understanding and appreciation of financial literacy. They have never been exposed to the value of saving their money so it can work for them instead of them working for their money. In fact, they probably don’t know that their money can work for them as it would be an entirely alien concept.

The good news is that with the introduction of certain concepts during their college years, these rookies can begin to set up a plan that will allow them to retire in comfort until they choose their next great adventure.

The first thing they must understand is they are a business entity unto themselves. Their product is their raw & refined talent. They must treat it as so and as such properly ensure their product, create a business structure around it, build a strong brand and properly monetize it. The problem with most athletes is they undervalue their product, and they do many things to devalue their brand, low-ball their product’s worth and create nothing to protect the lifetime value of their business.

Once they realize that their talent is their product and they need to treat it as such, the next thing is to set up their business structure. They need a “board of directors” to help steer the business in a profitable direction. The board of directors should consist of a financial advisor, a marketer/per person, a business developer, an image consultant, a security consultant, and a personal development expert/mentor. These are positions that should be hired and vetted just like anyone else.

The financial advisor should have a history of increasing the wealth of their clients and have a history of successful investments. Their goal should be to set up the business to receive long-term residual revenue. This includes income generating opportunities, safe investments, profitable partnerships, and asset protection. This job may be difficult at first as the athlete will want to make wasteful spending choices (cars, homes, jewelry). However, the financial advisor should be firm with the athlete and continue to support them in seeing the big picture, which is long term financial stability.

The marketer should be tasked with building up a strong brand for the business. As the athlete is the business, it becomes the brand. The marketer should have experience in promoting and building brands successfully It is important for the marketer to work with the image consultant in creating the roadmap for the kind of mark the athlete wants to make in the world. At first, it will probably be along the lines of having as many women as they can get their hands on, fast cars, expensive champagne and expensive jewelry (has anyone fished Julio Jones’ $150,000 earrings out of Lake Lanier yet?). This will be a challenge to the marketer, and they will have to work in close cooperation with the image consultant and the personal development coach/mentor to draw this out of them. Once they have an idea of the legacy the athlete wants to leave behind, they begin the branding process. Creating programs that back to the community in the area’s the athlete seeks to leave a legacy. They would also make sure any new deals, investments, activities don’t detract from this brand. They would be responsible for the public/social media communication, and also public events they could attend to further their brand. The goal is to have the community see this athlete as an asset to the community, which will create long – lasting and valuable relationships to work with for post-retirement collaboration.

The business developer is responsible for creating new streams of revenue and monetizing the brand built by the marketer. This person finds sponsorship or advertising deals for this athlete. They are responsible for monetizing their online and offline presence. They can find creative ways to do this, from customizing phone message greetings to monetized referrals to major advertising deals with fortune 500 companies. This person is an out of the box thinker and must work with the marketer to each step of the way because as the brand gets stronger, the kinds of deals that can be created become more lucrative.

The image consultant works with the marketer and branding person but focuses on the personal side of the business. Since athletes are on 24/7, their own life becomes their public life. The image consultant guides the athlete into supporting them in making choices that don’t harm: the brand, the finances, the future revenue. The Image consultant meets with the athlete at the beginning, before contracts are signed (or right after), and both agree upon what the image/brand of the athlete is to get buy in from the athlete of what the athlete is required to do to support the business brand. The image consultant is responsible for supporting the athlete in making wise choices about who is in constant contact with the athlete, and who is in their inner circle. They support the athlete in acting responsibly towards the brand in their off hours by reminding the athlete what is at stake and providing choices that will support the kind of activity the athlete is wanting while still protecting their brand.

A security consult protects the athlete/product and the brand. They handle emergencies and make sure the athlete doesn’t get themselves into trouble by foreseeing future problems and enacting contingency plans before the trouble begins. They are responsible for enforcing who is allowed into the inner circle or not and avoiding situations where the athlete can get into situations where they are used or blackmailed.

Lastly is the personal development coach/mentor. This person has the hardest and most important job of them all. This person must develop trust within the athlete to be able to guide them to a new consciousness and a way of being and thinking about the world. Most of these athletes do not have the kind of experiences that will support them in making effective choices in regards to creating a holistically successful life. The athlete must be willing to work with their development mentor and understand that the mentor is there to support the athlete in developing habits, perceptions, and mindsets that will support the goals of the business/athlete, which is to create long term growth and have an impact on the community. The personal development consultant is one who lives daily the principles they are mentoring the athlete in so the athlete can see a living example of what the change in mindset creates.

The athlete will need to view themselves in an entirely different light than just a talented Jock. If they want to avoid the fate of so many talented athletes who end up with broken bodies, no skills and completely broke, they must set their talent up so that they have long term earning power. They should speak to retired athletes to see where they would end up if they continue to make the same choices that these older athletes made that put them in the position they are in now.

Athletes can end up with their fairytale ending and live out their lives in comfort if they realize they don’t have to do it alone and surround themselves with other people who are on the same page. They should understand that the most important people in their lives from the point of signing the contract is their board of directors and together, they can create a lifetime relationship that could grow to unlimited potential.



Warriors on the field- Warriors in life is an organization dedicated to building the athlete so not only do they prosper financially, they are supported in making the kind of growth that will allow them to become leaders in their own life and well as their communities and ultimately be able to keep the lifestyle they have earned while they were athletes.