Every now and then, ESPN, Fox Sports, or a major media outlet will provide statistics on the general state of personal finance for professional athletes years after their playing days are over. According to a 2009 piece in Sports Illustrated, over 60% of former NBA players are in “severe financial distress” within five years, and that figure approaches 80% for NFL players shortly after retirement.
That kind of wasted potential makes me sad. I just wish that some of these guys had the right mentor, financial advisor, or whatever term you want to use, to give them guidance during their playing days so that they could create a sustainable lifestyle going forward. It makes me sad because it is so easy to live off the income when you are dealing with that kind of money—it makes me sick to think about how easy it would be to structure a permanent, long-term existence on something like $10 million without putting in a whole lot of effort.