The numbers are shocking. While many professional athletes make more in a year than most average citizens will make in their entire lives, that doesn’t stop the alarming trend of professional athletes going broke. Within five years of retiring 78% of NFL players will file for bankruptcy. This astonishing trend is caused by a combination of overspending, career duration, and a lack of financial knowledge in regards to investing.
And then there is New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie told Newsday’s Bob Glauber that while he admits to spending $5 million over the course of his first 2 years in the NFL, he is now mentoring his fellow teammates.
“I tell the young guys, ‘Don’t spend any money the first year and a half of your career,'” Cromartie said. “You don’t know what will happen after that. You might be released. You might be hurt. Just save your money.”
Cromartie is in a particularly interesting financial situation, given that he has 12 children with 8 different women, and child support payments can be very difficult to manage post-retirement. But with the help of his financial advisor, Jonathon Schwartz, Cromartie has his assets planned out for the rest of his life, including wealth to be put aside for multi-generational investment, meaning that his grandchildren will even be provided for.
While Cromartie now drives a Prius to work, he has come a long way from his days of flaunting his car collection,
“I had two Dodge Chargers, probably spent $100,000 just fixing them up,” he said. “I had a ’65 Caprice, which I spent $100,000 on. I had two BMWs, two Escalades.”
In an age where so many athletes go broke soon after retirement, it is refreshing to see a player investing his money wisely.