Tales of professional athletes facing financial ruin are all too common. Whether it’s squandering millions or getting swindled by shady business and investment consultants, some athletes’ wealth falls as quickly as it rises.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players are bankrupt or facing financial stress within two years of ending their playing careers and that among NBA players, 60% are “broke” within five years of retiring from the game.
But not all professional athletes experience such a devastating ending to their financial success. Willie Williams’ story illustrates how financial advisors can help athletes avoid such perils.
Williams was drafted out of Western Carolina University by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993. After four seasons with the Steelers, Williams played six seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. He returned to the Steelers for the 2004 and 2005 seasons and was the only Steelers player to be on both the 1996 and 2006 Super Bowl rosters.
Early in his career William’s ran into financial trouble. “I was a young athlete making a lot of money, never used to making that type of money and I had a problem of wanting to help everyone,” he said. “I did that for two years and the money was just dwindling.”
Fortunately, through his agent, Williams found a financial advisor that he could trust. He has worked with the same advisor since 1994. “She sat me down and put me on a monthly budget and painted the picture for me of the things that could happen if you don’t put money away,” Williams said.
“That’s how I decided to take grasp of the things that were important to me and that was making a living for my family.” Without the help of an advisor Williams said, “I probably would have been in the same situation these other guys are in.”
Watch the video (Super Bowl Star Says Advisors Essential for Athletes) to hear more about Williams’ story and how advisors can attract and keep professional athletes like Williams as clients.