Many NFL Draftees Need Personal Finance Advice Just Like Us
NEW YORK, May 11, 2021 (Newswire.com) - The NFL Draft is a major moment for 259 20-something-year-olds every year. The oldest player drafted this year was BYU defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga, who will turn 25 in July, but many have only recently been able to legally pop bottles to celebrate.
It's like Wooderson said in Dazed and Confused: "I get older—they stay the same age."
There's a common misconception, though, that reaching the pinnacle means you're set for life.
No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence is expected to sign a contract with the Jaguars worth $36.8 million, including a $24.1 million signing bonus, according to Sportico. Meanwhile, the last pick in the first round—Joe Tryon—is expected to sign a contract with the Buccaneers worth $11.2 million, including a $5.5 million signing bonus. And the expected contracts continue to fall from there.
A more realistic look at NFL draftees' contracts
This year's 'Mr. Irrelevant'—the final pick in the draft—Grant Stuard is expected to sign a contract with the Buccaneers worth a total value of roughly $3.5 million.
That surely sounds like a sizeable first contract, but it's important to consider that many draftees won't sign another NFL deal. According to Statista, the average NFL career lasts 3.3 years.
Think of it this way: If you started your career at 22, made $75,000 a year, and never got a raise or bonus, you could make $3.5 million by the time you're 69. Odds are your salary will increase throughout your career, though, and you won't have to make the $3.5 million you made between ages 22 and 26 last your whole life.
Personal finance advice for draftees that can apply to anyone
Falcons linebacker Brandon Copeland knows what it's like to scrape by as an NFL player. After going undrafted in 2013, he's bounced around the league, living off practice squad contracts and one-year deals. In March, he signed a one-year deal with the Falcons worth $1.04 million, with $300,000 guaranteed.
The Wharton School graduate teaches a personal finance course at Penn dubbed "Life 101." He's continued to provide financial advice for rookies, and much of what he advises can apply to anyone.
'Save, save, save'
"Prior to going out and making those big purchases, let's make sure that 1. we save and that we also understand money and how it works, and the value of the hard work we've already put in to make our first check," Copeland said in a recent interview with ABC News.
Part of understanding money is understanding debt, and those big purchases that Copeland mentioned can send players—or any of us—into a cycle of debt that's hard to break. And if you're lower on the pay scale, it can be even harder to recover. But budgeting to pay off debt can help.
And saving money, whether for emergencies or long-term goals, is an important step to take with your finances, especially when you're first entering your career.
Learn how to say no
"Right now, you're about to get a lot of new friends, a lot of new trusted advisors, and things like that—people you just met a few months ago who are now your friend because of your potential net worth or your earnings potential," Copeland told ABC News.
Regardless of your net worth or earnings potential, learning how to say no to people tapping you for money is a helpful skill.
Avoid social comparison
"It's easy for you to see other people's highlight reel and think 'I should be able to afford that as well,' but you don't necessarily know what that person has done or has going for them financially, so let's just stay in our lanes and focus on our own personal finance journey," Copeland said.
That's sage advice from a veteran that is befitting for all of us. Comparison not only is the thief of joy but also can rob you of some dough you wouldn't spend otherwise.
Categories: Personal and Family Finances