It’s football season which means you’ve probably at least considered passing judgement on the salaries of NFL players. It seems unfathomable that someone’s annual salary is $10 million, and even more unbelievable that so many players seem to run out of money. I used to feel the same way until a few years ago when I helped professional football players with their money. I went into it thinking it was insane that millionaires had so many money problems, but I came out of the situation having learned a lot.
I think you also can learn a lot about managing your money from NFL players, but you’ll have to suspend some serious pre-conceived ideas to get there. Ready?
Here’s what I learned about money from NFL players:
First of all, everyone has a complex financial life. Even if you make a lot of money and, in theory, have plenty to help get you through, there are always complications and complexities to deal with.
Secondly, NFL players get paid weekly…. but only for 17 weeks of the year, which means they go without pay for 35 weeks a year. Could you go without pay for 35 weeks a year? Would you have enough discipline to stretch 17 paychecks out over 52 weeks? I know you’re thinking, if I made millions of dollars a year I could! But that’s not the point, the point is, pay frequency matters and many wouldn’t be able to make this pay structure work for them. I’ve determined there are two types of financial minds, those that want to receive their entire salary upfront or during a 17-week period and those who would prefer the more traditional method of receiving their pay evenly throughout the year. Of those who would want their pay up front or in an isolated chunk, there are two further classes of people, those who can actually handle it and those who simply think they can handle it. I’ll say it again, pay frequency matters.
So next time you hear the amount a player makes, understand that despite the grand figure they are earning, they have their own financial issues they are dealing with.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.