We have all seen the statistics and heard the stories about the majority of athletes going broke soon after they retire, regardless of how much money they made.
I have this discussion with many people – especially athletes – on why this happens. The truth is very different than what many people think it is. I will discuss the mechanism at length later in this book, but the truth itself is simple. The reason that many athletes fail financially is the same reason that the vast majority of working people fail financially in retirement.
The system is designed for you to fail!
In this book I will show you how the system uses many tricks to keep you confused, poorly educated and dependent on others. I will then demonstrate many of the traps that have been perfected to separate highly paid athletes from their money so you can see these same devices operating in your life.
And lastly, I will teach you how to create an effective system to become educated, create clarity in your life and regularly generate effective results.
The stories of athletes “blowing their money” seem entertaining on the surface. The reality is that it happens in a systematic way that can affect you as well. The lessons you will learn from the athlete experience will provide the roadmap for you to achieve the success that probably has eluded you until now.
Why athletes are just an exaggerated version of you.
The more I talk to people in conventional careers, the more I hear about their feelings about athletes’ inability to hang on to their money. I hear a wide range of opinions – all negative – usually describing the different types of stupidity of the various athletes and the things that are typically reported in the media about financial failures among athletes. I virtually never get any opinion from a non-athlete that any of these stories relate in any way to people in “real life.”
I find it fascinating that so few people can relate their own financial difficulties or mistakes to what they read about in the media. I love having this conversation when people can finally see themselves as a smaller version of the athlete.
I usually start by discussing the actual issues at work versus some of the absurd examples in the media. While there are certainly cases of athletes blowing all of their money on strippers, cars and other frivolous items, the vast majority follow a very different path. Most are decent savers who want to do the right thing. They hold the majority of their wealth in cash. They don’t know how to earn income from holdings, so they become dependent on “advisors.” I go through a detailed examination of why athletes typically go broke later in this book.
But that doesn’t change the fact that for most of the public, the prevailing issue that arises first is the perception that athletes buy a lot of stuff. We all read the stories of the guy with 50 suits, tons of jewelry, multiple cars, or some other seemingly ridiculous lifestyle item.
On a larger scale, an athlete’s spending habits are not much different than those of non-athletes. The vast majority of Americans, as you know, spend much more than they make and often buy totally unnecessary items.
This is a result of the millions of advertising messages constantly forced upon us. As a society, we are urged at every opportunity to buy stuff we don’t need, more than we can easily afford, and do it often. We have credit cards stuffed in our wallets and become slaves to them. Our entire society is stressed by money problems, and then we are surprised that athletes with gobs of money buy tons of stuff. After all, don’t you want to keep up with the Kardashians?
I then ask about other issues that “plague” athletes. Let’s look at some of the typical items:
_ Family needs – parents and relatives needing help
_ Peer pressure
_ Friends in need – getting hit up for help
_ Wanting to give your kids everything
_ Losing your job and needing to feed your lifestyle
_ Unprepared to make important money decisions
_ Understanding business on a high level
None of these issues are unique to athletes at all; they are universal. The only thing that makes athletes’ experiences different is the scale. The reason I believe that athletes are such a good example to study is because their lives are (a) lived very much in the public eye and (b) merely an exaggerated version of what many people face every day.
By studying and understanding what athletes face, there is much to learn about how you can do better in handling your own situation. I think you will have a lot of fun peeking behind the curtain of athletes’ lives. By seeing what athletes do wrong – and also what they do right – you will be able to see yourself much more clearly.
That is why it is so important to look beyond the obvious and really see what forces are at work. I am totally convinced that these same forces are at work in your life as well.
Danny Schayes is a Director of Business Optimization at Intensity and a leader in the business of professional sports. Schayes frequently advises sports organizations in complex business matters that include contract negotiations, pricing strategy, marketing optimization, and executive leadership. Follow him on Twitter.
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