Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pro Athletes and Their Money

One of the highest paying jobs in America is to be a successful pro athlete. The appetite for sports in our country is insatiable. TV ratings are impressive, especially for NFL games. CBS just premiered its Thursday night NFL game with monster ratings. The money that teams get for airing their games is off the charts. In pro sports, you have millionaire athletes working for billionaire team owners. Sports is entertainment, and entertainers get paid big bucks, whether one is an NFL quarterback, a pop music star or a movie star. Sports are the ultimate reality TV show when you think about it. Millions are watching things unfold live and it's a communal experience. Fans pack the sports bars and living rooms all over the country to experience the thrill of competition.

Athletes take big chances in order to earn the big paychecks. They sacrifice their bodies to earn their glory. Yes they are paid well, but only 1% of college athletes make it to the next level. Even then, their careers are often short, just a handful of years. When the big paychecks stop coming, they must have other career options. 78% of NFL players go bankrupt within 5 years of retirement. For the NBA it's 60%. When one makes a lot of money they often want to show off with expensive homes, cars, jewelry and clothes. Mike Tyson earned $400 million over his career but still ended up broke. Pro athletes sometimes see their money disappear due to corrupt business managers, substance abuse problems, divorce/child support payments, poor investments, legal trouble, and unwise choices in everyday life. What these athletes really need is education on the basics of handling money in order to make it last a lifetime. One thinks of the old adage "A fool and his money are soon parted".

The ESPN series 30 for 30 did a program about athletes and their money. Many prominent athletes are profiled and they talk about how easy it is to get confortable with a lavish lifestyle and waste the money over time. Watch it here.

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