Now that the NFL’s regular season is about to commence, so will to the regular weekly game checks that players will collect for the next seventeen weeks. Up until now all players were receiving a per diem to cover the various expenses from shaving cream to late night McDonald’s runs. Unless you had a mega signing bonus check, roster payment, or workout reimbursement headed your way, most players have been patiently waiting to receive the first of their installments via “paragraph 5” or in laymen’s terms – base salary.
Seasoned vets have been through this anticipation already and seen the various financial obligations and taxation requirements drained from their original gross number. Rookies often get the rude awakening. But for all it’s a time of supreme reflection on being paid for playing a kid’s game in a VERY grownup industry, the realities of which can be suffocating to many.
Perception from the public is the lifestyle that goes with being a professional athlete, much of which has been tainted by misconceptions portrayed by the media following high profile players. Unlike many other pro sports, there’s a complete infatuation with the salary aspect of professional football. Perhaps more so because of the “game within the game” that the management of the Salary Cap has created.
But unlike a club’s cap dollars (often treated more like Monopoly money) player payroll is all too real from a pure cash perspective. It’s here that the League has tried to educate their players as to responsible money management, but the statistics continue to point towards “deaf ears”. Steve Cohen writes a nice piece for AccessAthletes.com and reminds all pro players, especially in the NFL, that the best financial advice is that which your mom always gave – boring but consistent. We should all listen to our mothers and read on. Money Mindset For Athletes Handbook is an excellent resource!
The Football Educator
Momma Always Knows Best: The Money Mindset
By Steve Cohen – AccessAthletes.com
My mom is the type of person who gets to the airport three hours early, whether she’s flying internationally or not. My mom is the type of person who feels physically uncomfortable not getting to the airport three hours early, whether she’s even the one flying or not. I’m the type of person who packs three hours before I’m supposed to fly and feels vastly superior to all the nervous shmucks toughing it out in the food court. But I am also in a permanent rush, and I knew even before I missed my first flight that momma was probably right.
Momma, it turns out, is just about always right, about just about everything.
But momma is also boring. That doesn’t make her any less right – in fact, she’s boring specifically because of how consistently right she is – but it does make her a lot harder to listen to. And that is how it should be. A hip mom is probably a bad mom. A mom with anything but dull, clichéd things to say about life probably isn’t doing her job.
And I mention my momma because it is basically impossible to give professional athletes good financial advice without sounding exactly like her.
There is no conceivable way to approach the topic of disability insurance, for example, as anything other than a sober reflection on the very real possibility of becoming permanently crippled (especially if your career involves running away from 300-pound men who want to eat you), and the financial implications involved if you do. If CPA were the name of a rap group, it might be vaguely cool, but nothing says unsexy like an acronym for “certified public accountant.” A watchdog that monitors your bank statements and tax records is neither fun to play with nor intimidating to look at nor fuzzy to sleep with. Spending plans and estates are things that moms have.
Whenever I read things like NCompass Financial’s Money Mindset For Athletes Handbook, I am struck by how redundantly obvious all the information and suggestions they offer are. Of course if you are living by yourself in a city where you will spend approximately 4 months out of the year, it’s probably better to rent than buy. Of course nothing is permanent – the ability to whack a ball traveling at 97 mph with a stick less so than most things. Of course more saving now will mean more spending, for longer, later. Of course insulating yourself from every third cousin thrice-removed and friend from that one week that one summer in elementary school is smarter than serving as a bottomless ATM for any person that ever knew you. Of course of course. Of course of course of course.
Steven Cohen is a freelance writer, translator, researcher and editor, with a degree in Spanish and International Letters from Tufts University. He currently writes for the Colombia Reports online newspaper and lives in Medellin, Colombia.