From earning massive sums right out of school to surrounding themselves with the wrong influences, pro athletes are vulnerable to financial missteps and deceit. Andre Mirkine, president of the Sports Financial Advisors Association, explains why.
You're talking about young men and women who enter a
profession where they can make a lot of money, and
they have no idea what to with it. They generally
have not earned a paycheck. They don't know about taxes.
They just don't have that exposure. So they tend to
mismanage their money. They get led astray by some of
the people that surround them. Everybody thinks they're incredibly wealthy
immediately, and it's just a trap where there's money, they're
unfortunately often are predators. I've interviewed a number of athlete
clients that I've worked with and those that I have
met and I asked them when did you know you
had a shot at being a professional athlete. Some bloomed
early, some bloomed late but the consensus is around the
9th or 10th grade. So you're talking about a 13
or 14-year-old kid who already knows in his heart because
this is a type A personality who's bigger, badder, faster
than his friends that he's got a real good chance
of making a lot of money and he already is
thinking about how to spend it. You'll see situations where
professional athlete has difficulty trusting people because from a very
early point in their careers, they're being approached by people.
So they'll insulate themselves with people who they trust. The
people who they trust may not have the qualifications to
help them manage their career financially. So whether it's their
personal finances or their contracts or they're marketing or endorsements,
these aren't specialists. It's an uncle, it's a coach, it's
somebody in that circle early in their lives who steps
in and says I'll do it for you to protect
you. Those people also don't have the ability to screen
out the good and the bad. It's incredibly difficult to
screen out somebody who really wants to take your money.