I always wanted to be a college athlete, but then I found out that my six-foot, four-inch, 230 pound, older brother stole all of the height and size in our family, along with the athleticism. So then I decided to be…. a five-nine and three fourths or five-ten- with shoes on- financial planner.
In high school, I remember guys, like Ed Oliver, smacked my teammates and me around and scoring 65 points on us in the first half. Despite the horrible loss and my failed dreams of being a college athlete, my love for athletics hasn’t gone away. I love the excitement that sports has brought to my life over the years. More than that, I love the personalities that come from the sports world, such as Lebron James, Shannon Sharpe, and Lance Stephenson.
Netflix documentaries are my guilty pleasure and my excuse for a couple of the C’s that I have accumulated in college. One of my favorite documentaries, called “Broke”, is a 30 for 30 special ESPN directed. The documentary dives into the lives of some former athletes and their stories regarding money and finances. This documentary was more than a typical documentary I was used to watching. This documentary hurt. It honestly put a gloom over my day. These athletes who came from nothing were given everything and then it was all taken away.
Many of these players were some of the most talented college athletes to ever grace the NCAA, and never got a dime. People see documentaries like “Broke” and have the response of we should never pay college athletes. If we pay them, it will spoil them rotten. College athletes cannot handle that type of responsibility. So, what is the solution to this? Should college athletes just transition to a professional league where stakes are higher?
California has recently passed a bill that will allow college athletes to make money off of their own likeness. Many people think that this will be dangerous because athletes have been known for their irresponsibility with money. However, I think the bill is actually a great idea. The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry, and it seems that everyone involved, expect for the athletes, gets paid. I think that paid college athletes will give universities and communities the opportunity to promote financial literacy and education. It is and would be hard for any teenage kid to start making millions of dollars. If I were to be given large amounts of money at a young age, I would have probably spent all of my money on Yeezys and sour patch kids.
What I am getting at is that athletes are not crazy, nor do all athletes suffer from a problem with money management. Our country has a financial literacy problem. I even stopped telling people that I was a financial planning major because everyone wanted advice, and I cannot charge for it yet. “Jk I welcome it”. This soon-to-be five-foot ten inches financial planner is saying that we need to step up in the wealth management community and help others understand the complexities of financial issues. We must work with people on deep, financial issues that are beyond a cash flow statement. We must address the behavior first. Studies have shown that about 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. This is not just an issue for athletes. All Americans are suffering.
Also, if I could advise enough athletes on their finances, I wonder if they could advise my kids athletically so my kids are not getting beat by 65 points like their dad.