According to the CFL, the average career length o fa professional football player is less than 3.5 years. During this time, the average wealth accumalted by that NFL player is slightly more than the average lifetime earnings of a college-educated person in the United States ‐ whcih is just around $2 million.
Some interesting facts:
- 70 percent of NFL players file for bankruptcy within five years of retirement
- 60 percent of allNBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of retirement
- MLB players file for bankruptcy at a rate that us four times the national average.
Most members of the law enforcement community throughout Palm Beach Country will accumalate retirement benefits alone ‐ either through a pension or investment contributions ‐ equivalent to that amount or more in addition to theit wages over the course of their career.
I estimate that the average law enforcement officer here will earn between two-and-a-half and four times more than the average college-educated person in the United States.
Yet the majority do not have an emergency savings, investment, retirement or income/asset protection plan in place. Many live paycheck or still acquire substantial debt ‐ and yes, even file for bankruptcy.
How do you get on track to maximize your wealth and protect your hard-earned nest egg? Financial education.
Most people, regardless of their profesion, do not have the desire, will knowledge or time to manage, monitor and review their financial affaits and investments.
I’m not telling you to become a professional in the field of finance, but rather urging you to become slightly educated so that you have a general understanding of what is going on with your money.
Taking a few hours out of the year to understand how to plan for your unique financial situation could make or break the lifestyle you envision for you and your family, both now and in retirement.
Some of the keys to financial success:
Establish a long-term budget
This starts with knowing where your money is going, working to stay within reasonable parameters for spending and benchmarking your progress (with your spouse , if married), at least monthly. This process will involve evaluating trade-offs and require you to prioritize your goals and what is important to you. Done right, it’s a bit more than just categorizing your expenses ‐ you have to look at the immediate, short-term, intermediate and long-term goals.
Protect what you earn.
Every one of you can appreciate the value of a bulletproof vest, I’m sure manu of you have known peers who decided not to wear them ar inappropriate times, for whatever reason, and have thought, to yourself, “They’re out of their minds ‐ what are they thinking?” Yet many of you don’t put a bulletproof vest around your assets, your wages and your family’s finances. A few of the sinple and easy things you can do are:
- Have estate planning documents prepared, including a last will and testament, revocable living trust, healthcate surrogate designation, living willm designation of preneed guardiam, and durable power of attorney.
- Make sure your beneficiary designations are correct ‐ even of you have the documents done already. For this to be correctly implemented, you really need to speak to a professional, as there are many bear traps that can cause problems. You don’t want to simply list your spouse’s and/or children’s names in many situations. This can cause major issues and loss of certain benefits and controls.
- Make sure that assets are held in protected accounts or titled correctly in a way to limit the likelihood of loosing them in a liablility claim; for example, if you are ever held civilly liable for an action you take on or off the job.
- Validate that your auto, homeowners, boat and umbrella policy limits are highly enough to protect your wages and assets, which could be exposed in the event of a judgment.
Protect your ability to earn.
This starts with undertanding what you would need if you were to become permanently disabled and how those benefits work ‐ as well as how much your family would need if you die. People often rely too heavily on Social Security disablity or survivor benefits, or they overor underinsure. How much disablity or life insurance do you need? What type? For what length of time? What health and family challenges exist?
Pay yourself first and spend strategically.
Every individual needs to have a liquid, cash emergency fund prevent debt accumulation when problems strike. it’s not a matter of “if”; it’s “when.” In addition to this every single one of us will have a need ‐ like it or not ‐ to have money invested to product some level of retirement income, to get the growth we need to have sustainable, long-term income, earn interest on a rainyday fund, or pay for college or other spending goals.
You have to know what your goals are and start saving something. Have your investments positioned in such a way that you understand their volatility (how much they will change in value during various market conditions).
The key is to not be caught by suprise ‐ and to start saving as soon as you possibly can, even if it’s not as much as you’d like. The earlier you start, and the more consistent you are, the more you will develop the discipline required to reach your goals.
Go back to the basics your grandparents used.
Once upon a time, if you didn’t have the money to buy something, you didn’t spend it. Prior generations had limited access to credit, which forced them to save money for desired purchases, vacations and emergencies. Times have changed, but you don’r have to be a part of the “gotta have it now” culture that we live in today. Our most financially successful clients learn early in their lives to use debt smartly and get it paid off quickly. They have a comfort level with the lives they live and don’t predicate their success based on what their peers have or are doing.
Maintain a partnership with a wealth advisor and review your plan often.
Initiate a partnership with a wealth advisor who is competent and is only being compensated by you –– and not the products they sell you. Make time to consistently (at least annually) meet to ensure you are on track to maximize your wealth, protect your assets, and live the lifestyle you envision in retirement. Plan to comprehensively discuss your unique financial situation –– from estate planning to tax minimization strategies to survivor income and retirement planning –– to ensure that you and your family are fully insulated and on track to realize the future that you’ve worked hard to achieve.
The bottom line:
Do something! Take action. Break the “it’s not going to happen to me” mentality –– because every day it happens to one of your peers who didn’t think it was going to happen to him or her. Don’t put yourself (or your family) in a position where your affairs are determined by a judge or the state laws. Help yourself realize the financial freedom most of us desire. The key is to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever your want. The next move is yours.