Financial Security in Professional Sports

okung There was a story about financial security that crossed our desk last week that surprisingly received very little buzz.  Let me explain.

Russell Okung, the starting left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, fired his agent, saying he (Okung) was more than qualified to represent himself in contract negotiations as free agency approaches.  He went on to say that professional athletes need to play a bigger part in their financial futures, and that the 3% commission he was paying his sports agent wasn’t worth the return he was receiving.

Now this story may not be earth-shattering, but in the world of professional sports, it is worth note.

In 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or facing serious financial stress within two years of ending their careers.  The article went on to say nearly 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement from the game.

How can this be?

The reasons given most often include not living within their means, gambling, alcohol and drug addictions, poor financial planning and an unrealistic vision of how long their careers will last.

A professional athlete really only has two options with regards to financial security:  either educate yourself, like Okung, and take control of your future, or hire professionals who know about financial matters and listen to their advice.

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