Keeping up with the Joneses is tough not to do, especially for NFL players. I was talking with a current NFL practice squad player this past weekend, and we talked about just how tough it is for lower, “fringe” level guys to keep from trying to keep up with the cars, jewelry, and houses the “big boys” in the locker room buy. A lot of people bash NFL players because 78% of them are broke within a few years of their last game, and maybe rightfully so.

And believe it or not, there’s a lot of broke NFL players in the league right now, that are still active. Sure, it’s true that “the system” sets these guys are set up to fail financially, but regardless, it’s the athlete’s responsibility to be smart with their money.

The average NFL player goes from being a broke college student with no real financial education, to a millionaire, instantly… Now that alone is a recipe for disaster, but it gets better… or worse.

I read the other day that 89 percent of African Americans failed to score a passing grade on the Jump$tart financial literacy test. Now, I never heard of that test before, but that’s still a ridiculous number. Now take that number, and consider the fact that about 66% of NFL players are black.

By NFL standards, Bart Scott lives a modest lifestyle, driving a 2002 Lincoln Navigator and owning a $700,000 home.


Now you see why there’s so many broke NFL players, right?

I just read that, because of the lockout, which has only been in affect for a little over a month, about 30% of the players have went and signed-up for loans with ridiculous interest rates, ranging from 18-26%, that shoot-up to 36% if they default! These guys need need this money to hold them over through the lockout.

It’s sad, but ultimately the high rate of broke NFL players falls on the players themselves. Yes, in some cases they fall victim to unscrupulous agents and


financial advisers, and many make bad investments, but still, it’s their money, so ultimately it’s their own fault they’re in these situations.

I think NFL players have to take it upon themselves to get educated, because no one else is going to do it for them.  I mean, that should be pretty apparent by now. Keep putting the financial future of you and your family in the hands of financial advisers and agents, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’re going to end up amongst the other broke NFL players.

I’m not saying financial advisers and agents are bad, but you should do enough self-education to be able to hold a conversation with them if they suggest something that you don’t understand.

A great role model for how to not end up like the other broke NFL players is Bart Scott.  A guy who will make $6 Million in the 2011 season, who drives a 2002 Lincoln Navigator and owns a $600,000 home, which is modest by NFL standards.  With or without a 2011 NFL season, Bart’s on-schedule to have his home paid-off this year, as well as his kid’s college funds.

In the NFL, keeping up with the Joneses means that you’re likely to end up amongst the 78% of former players that end up bankrupt, or amongst the rest of the active broke NFL players that are so financially strapped that they need high-interest loans to try to stay afloat.

Why would you want to “keep up” with that?

Ed Butowsky, an expert Wealth Manager for pro athletes, elaborates on the epidemic of broke pro athletes in the video below:

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier 

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