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A letter to NFL Draftees

Dear NFL Draftees,

Welcome to the NFL. 

Some of you have been drafted in the first round. You are the gods of the new breed. You will be expected to star immediately, or at least push for that job. Don't screw this one up, or the media will be so far up your behind that you'll have a microphone poking out your mouth. 

Some of you have been drafted in the final rounds, or were not drafted at all. If you weren't drafted, your agents are scurrying around for you to find a place on a roster, where you will fight veterans for a job. Funnily enough, because you're cheaper labour, you may well take their job, but we don't know that. 

But if you screw it up, you'll be fighting it out with another 1,695 players to regain that spot, or face relative obscurity in a practice squad, the Canadian Football League, the new WWE league called the XFL, which will probably collapse within one season like the Alliance of American Football did, because the NFL's got the power. 

But most of all, I'm praying that you don't become one of the 78% of NFL players who go broke after they retire. 

I've seen it way too many times as a writer. I've met Vince Young, who would later go from a $25 million NFL quarterback to Mr Broke in just 7 years. I've seen players walk around their entourage, all wearing designer shoes and designer jewellery. When I ask them what they do as a nice gesture, they say: "I look after him". I've had to bite my lip until it bled because I all I've wanted to ask is: "Where did you get your law or Business degree from?" I'm also sick and tired of watching the NFL Draft and thinking: "How many of these guys will go bust?"

As I said two paragraphs before, the number's 78%. That means 25 of the first round picks are likely to go bust. Or bigger, that's 174 of the 224 who got picked will go bust. In other words, not many will survive. 

You'll go back and think after it's all over in just over three years' time: "Why did I give my Money away? What was I doing?", and blame anyone else but yourselves.

So we've come up with a few ideas so you don't go broke. And yes, we're taking not doing drugs, booze or indulging in bad behaviour as granted!

1) Don't buy a mansion. You can rent a very nice one until you retire. Why? Because the average NFL player's career is 3 years and 3 months. And if you're not a quarterback, it'll probably be even less that that. There's a new vat of talented juniors coming up year after year to supplement the already-talented seniors, and your place is more at risk than it ever was. If you're lucky, you'll get traded a few times. Constantly selling and buying a place will kill you when it comes to agency fees, as well as thousands of dollars worth of taxes. If you're making a huge amount of money as a first-round draft pick, then by all means buy your Mom a house as you promised. But not yourself. You don't need one. 

This goes for cars, too. You don't need the best car in the world. You won't spend a lot of time driving it, and you can always afford an Uber or at worst, a private car. If you really want one, then buy it used. Remember this: As soon as you take a car off the lot, the value falls by 20%. 

Oh, and no yachts, either.  

2) Do not let someone you don't know working for a company you've never heard of manage your money. Do you research or get a Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) do the research on who should manage your money. If someone in your circle gives you advice and they aren't qualified, it's probable that they don't know what they are talking about. There are too many stories of people giving their money to shady managers, only to see it robbed or disappear into the ether of crappy investment decisions. Make sure they come from a reputable firm. It might cost you a bit more, but if Mr 'Fly-By-Night' invests terribly and kills you financially, you could well be history. And investing-wise, go for the more conservative investing approach, keep cash in the portfolio, and because right now the markets are heading for a recession. Do not let the manager buy real estate in a place you've never heard of because 'prices are definitely going up', because right now it's looking like we're heading for a recession. 

3) Do not let someone come to you with a business idea with no business plan. It's extraordinary how many players go bust because someone who knows someone with your group of friends/family comes with a business idea, asks you to give him or her money, and takes it. When the player asks about the business, the recipient of the money comes up with a B.S. excuse or is already gone.  NBA star Kevin Love says that he's often been pestered about buying into a business. 'I always ask them for a business plan, and it's funny how many never come back with one. These people are not only liars, but they are thieves and frauds.

4) a) Do not let the NFL veterans get you on a dinner bill. Instead, do the rookie stuff like haul their shoulder pads to and from practice. They might smell like hell, but it's better than getting hit for the best part of $100,000. 

b) In the same way, do not pay for your buddies and their girlfriends at a club. They'll love being in the VIP saying they know you - and bring along ladies to meet you - but you'll end up getting stung with the bill, because that's what leeches do. 

5)  If you get money for endorsements, only use that money. Rob Gronkowski, the future NFL Hall of Famer and Patriots tight end, got a salary of $54 million. He's spent none of that, but instead opting to live his life through endorsement checks. Marshawn Lynch and Saquon Barkley have done the same. And if you're a running back, you've got a pretty short career span anyway. Also, it's very probable that you won't make Gronk money, if you get any extras Gs from endorsements capitalise on it. Plus, you're not likely to be Tom Brady or Michel Irvin. No endorser's really going to care about you after your NFL career finishes, anyway.

6) If you have an inner circle, stick to that inner circle. Do not let others - from the church to people you don't know simply taking advantage of the situation - rinse you dry. I get that people from your hometown who have 'always looked after you' will expect massive donations for their excellence as you were rising through the ranks (probably because they could see a future paycheck coming), but that's B.S. If someone really supports you, they'll be happy for you and won't have any strings attached to that love. If you want to give 10% to charity or to the church, then go right ahead. That's a good thing. 

7) Get a good tax lawyer. If you play Miami it's a great thing to do. You don't have to pay income tax when you play the Dolphins (and you'll probably win!), although you'll have to pay income tax in other places you play. A lot of players want to play in more 'tax-friendly areas', and don't like moving. Oh, and when you retire, get a good tax lawyer so you won't have to give too much to teh government from your wages. Washington, Texas, Nevada, Florida, Alaska, Wyoming, and South Dakota don't charge state income tax (we advise Washington, Texas, Nevada or Florida, unless you're into hunting and fishing!!!). 

8) Learn from others. There are plenty of players doing things on the cheap. Kirk Cousins - he who made $84 million guaranteed from the Minnesota Vikings - still behaves financially astutely. As does veteran Ryan Kerrigan. There's not harm in talking about the secrets of lasting longer in the NFL with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, who's been around for 16 years and collected tens of millions in paychecks. 

You ask "Who the hell are you to give ME financial education?" and I'll reply: "I'm nothing". But I'm sick to seeing good people exploited by others. These 'others' aren't good people. They are leeches. They will lie, cheat and do anything to 'get theirs' and after they are finished, they will move on, because that's what leeches do. I've seen it at The Super Bowl, when players take along a cast of 3 or 4 people, that you KNOW have come along at the players' expense as 'support', wearing expensive suits and nice jewellery. 

Also, if you want to watch a program where the leeches consistently get the better of players, watch 'Ballers'. Because there's way too much truth in that. 



This post first appeared on The View From North America, please read the originial post: here

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A letter to NFL Draftees


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