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Money Management: Pro-Athlete Style

By Kelly McNerney, Financial Advisor

For all of our sports fans, let’s take a moment to appreciate greatness.

I grew up in North Jersey and was raised to be a die-hard New York Yankees fan (sorry, not sorry!). I had the privilege of watching many games with my family and some of my greatest memories were made at Yankee Stadium. My #1? Being in the stands when Aaron Boone hit the walk-off home run in game 7 of the ALCS in 2003 sending the Yankees to the World Series. Talk about an epic moment that will stick with me forever!

Last Tuesday, one of Yankee’s best, Mariano Rivera, was the first player ever to be unanimously selected by 425 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mo’s baseball statistics are more than impressive:

  • 652 saves with a 2.21 earned run average (ERA)
  • 13 time All- Star
  • 5 time World Series champion.

Off the field, Rivera is equally as impressive. He understood the importance of planning for his life after baseball. In his 19 seasons with the New York Yankees, Mo earned $169.4 million and he had a plan, unlike other high paid stars. You know the ones. We’ve all seen those stories of athletes fallen from grace after their sports career ends. Highly paid athletes filing for bankruptcy post-retirement is a common occurrence. Given the average age of athletes when they go pro, this isn’t really surprising Think back to your early 20s or even earlier for some and how financially responsible or *ahem* irresponsible you were. Now, throw in earning millions of dollars as your first paycheck. It has to be absolutely mind and wallet-blowing that this income is your new norm.

We don’t grow up with financial advisers,” Rivera says. “Financial advisers on what, when you have nothing? But now, once we have it, you’re going to have a lot of people thinking, ‘I’m going to take advantage’. So you need to make a very smart choice with choosing a financial adviser, and you go from there. Make sure that you invest it right. If you do that, you can keep the same life that you were living — but understanding that that money that you made, you will never make that kind of money again. With that in mind, once you’re done, you have to watch what you do. Because players believe sometimes they will keep making the same money, and they’re not.”

Given the sheer number of athletes that struggle with financial planning, Mariano is passionate about educating the next generation of athletes on the importance of working with a financial advisor.

Congratulations, Mo. You are an inspiration.