A look at why pro athletes go broke after retiring.

By Mwayi Peter

For many pro athletes, going broke after their careers have waned is a possibility that they must all contend with. According to Sports Illustrated estimates, 78% of all NFL players are bankrupt only two years after retiring from the league. Similarly, 60% of all NBA stars take the same route when the lights and cameras stop rolling. Although these sports stars make truckloads of money in their prime, they face a unique set of problems that make holding onto their career earnings a feat few of them seem able to muster. 

Small earnings window.

The career of an athlete is unlike many other careers. It has a short earnings window while mainstream careers can span as long as forty years with the professional earning more the longer they practice. An athlete will earn during his prime and retire to live off the earnings they have made. The strenuous nature of sports eventually has a toll on their bodies necessitating retirement after a career of about ten years.  

An uber extravagant lifestyle.

Few people lavish themselves with the extravagant luxuries that many unwise sports stars are famous for. From fancy sports cars to mansions, high-end watches and designer clothes, the list goes on and on. Coupled with an endless list of friends and relatives they support, the financial burden on pro athletes eventually burns a hole through their bank accounts when the cheques stop coming in.  

Ignorance of financial management

The cocktail of large earnings and a lack of financial management skills gives a highly potent yet delusional feeling of invincibility. In these highs, with the world bowing to them, athletes forget that this will all come to an end eventually, along with the earnings. Like anything that needs stewardship, an athlete needs to be a sober and an active decision-maker in everything that has to do with their money. If they do not know much about managing money, seeking this information may be the only thing that cushions them from a future life of misery. 

It’s expensive to divorce In the United States, half of all first marriages end in divorce, and this likelihood is higher for pro athletes. Many of them end up with partners who are more interested in the glamour that comes with being an athlete’s wife and won’t stick around when the rubber hits the road. An athlete undergoing a divorce in the middle of a promising career may be able to meet the child support responsibilities while the big cheques are still coming in. But when the career ends and cash is hard to come by, a divorce could wreck financial ruin to an athlete who once brought in the big bucks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *