Cautionary tales from the NFL

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It happens every summer. A number of newly minted millionaires-in-waiting report to NFL training camps.

But what are the ramifications of putting such enormous amounts of money into the hands of these young men and why have others in the past gone broke? Within the answers to those questions is direction and guidance that can help almost everyone – not just athletes and the super-rich – manage money in a more responsible and forward-thinking manner.

We suggest anyone who comes into a bit of money or wants to protect their funds should consider the following lessons we can learn from NFL athletes:

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  • Don’t spend money you don’t have. Nothing in the NFL, or in life, is a given, but people tend to spend money before they have it in the bank. This might apply with an annual bonus that’s expected, or when waiting for a commission check to come through. It is always better to be conservative with your financial choices rather than dig a big debt you will struggle to ever get out of.
  • Hire a team of trusted professionals, not an entourage. The same rules that should guide the rich to seek out a reliable financial planner and estate planning attorney apply across the board. It’s best that these trusted advisors not be friends; and prepare to hear the word “no” sometimes.
  • Not all injuries make news. Unfortunately, we’re all just as vulnerable walking down the street as anyone barreling down the football field. An unforeseen accident can put a person’s life and his or her loved ones’ financial security in jeopardy. But the ramifications can be less severe if there is an advance plan in place.
  • Learn from the mistakes of others. It seems hardly a day goes by without headlines regarding divorce, bankruptcy, scam artists or other scandalous sports news. Pay attention to these cautionary tales.

Whether you have a storied career in the NFL, play for a forgettable team in the Canadian Football League or even if you never play professionally at all, these lessons will serve you well.

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