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What Playing in the NFL Taught Me About Income

For more than a decade now, my professional life has been entirely focused on the financial world, developing tax-efficient investment strategies using life insurance.


Many of you know that before I began honing my skills in this niche, I was an Offensive Lineman in the NFL.


This seeming “jump” from football to finance was not a jump at all, but rather a concurrent process that eventually led to my retirement from the NFL.


Even as a rookie in 2003, I knew the stereotype of “broke retired athlete” was a stereotype for a reason, and I needed to make sure I never ended up that way.


From day one, I was on a trajectory that helped me learn lifelong lessons related to building wealth. I found strong mentors, hired knowledgeable advisors, and began diversifying my income streams pretty quickly.


In my third year playing, I secured a permanent life insurance policy and added premium financing to it. Why? Because the first money lesson I learned in the NFL was about taxes.


Coming out of college and straight into the NFL meant I was fortunate enough to make a good living doing something I loved.


I think it’s common for young adults to get their first paycheck and be surprised at the percentage the government keeps, no matter the pay rate.


Like most in their early 20’s, I had no idea how to manage money. For those in high earning positions, I learned setting myself up for tax-efficient investing was critical if I wanted to have a secure retirement.


This concept translates into every income bracket, and I found that fascinating.


In those early years, I continued working with the right people to learn more and more about the financial and insurance worlds. In doing so, they also helped me understand how to respect money in regards to the process of building wealth.


I saw firsthand how easy it could be to lose sight of what life would be like without an NFL paycheck. Rather than using my income to accumulate things, I began accumulating additional sources of income.

If you’re a football fan, you know an Offensive Lineman’s job is to identify opportunities and protect others. By seeking out new business opportunities while I was still playing, I created secure sources of income for myself that could protect my family and business partners when my time at the NFL came to an end.


Another valuable lesson I learned during my time playing was the importance of living a balanced life.

When you love what you do, it’s easy to become so consumed by your job that you forget about everything else.


I’d say, “this is especially true for athletes” but I think this is equally true for any professional who takes great pride in their craft.


Over time, I realized that my happiness and wellbeing depended on more than just work. I needed to invest in my family, my friends, my community, and my own personal growth.


To truly thrive, you need to find a balance between your financial goals and your other priorities. Do this by finding trustworthy mentors and giving some of your time to a charitable cause.


Conclusion

In the end, my experience in the NFL taught me a lot about what to do (and what not to do) if you want to have a comfortable retirement. If I can leave you with this, I urge you to remember it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you keep.


Should you have any questions about my firm’s advisory services, call 773-318-9608 or reach out to me directly at jeff@efslife.com.


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Maitland, FL 32751

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