10 lessons in debt you can learn from soccer players

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In the 90s, football was my life. I was an usher for the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, and Buffalo Bills. The highlight of my career was leading the AFC in touchbacks in 1995.

If you don’t know what all this means, let me explain it another way: I played the most popular sport in the country, and I did it really well for a little while. But then it was over because careers in the NFL averaged just over three years. I beat that limit, but couldn’t beat the time. Time has an unbeaten record.

For my second career, I chose a profession with which I already had some experience: personal finance. Throughout the ’90s, I saw young men signing contracts for millions of dollars – and for many those millions evaporated soon after their careers ended.

My years in the NFL taught me almost as much about not getting into debt as my later career as president of Debt.com. So let’s start with 10 Debt Lessons You Can Learn From Soccer Players.

1. Brains beat money

Money will get you out of debt, but it won’t keep you from getting into debt. I’ve seen this up close for years. Give someone $ 1 million and don’t teach them how to budget, save and invest – and I promise you will be on their last dollar before they retire.

Do not believe me ? The National Bureau of Economic Research study shows that nearly 16% of retired football players go bankrupt within 12 years of leaving the grill. Meanwhile, CNBC reports, “the typical football player’s salary is $ 2.7 million.”

So if you think your money problems would just be solved by an injection of money, I don’t believe it. If Millionaires Can Go Bankrupt Without Having Financial Literacy Then You Can Thrive with this knowledge. Where to get this education? Personal finance websites. They are free and not at all time consuming.

2. Budgeting is your game plan

For the past four years, Debt.com has polled Americans about budgeting. Typically, about 6 in 10 adults keep a monthly household income and expense budget. During the pandemic, that figure rose to almost 80%. But, it should be 100 percent.

You can’t save money for a new car, a new house, or a new family if you don’t know what life is costing you right now. I promise you the NFL players who went bankrupt didn’t have a budget. NFL star Warren Sapp has earned $ 40 million in his 13-year career. He retired in 2008, and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

We played in the NFL at the same time, and although I didn’t know him, I’m sure I can say this: Warren Sapp didn’t stay on a budget.

3. Shorten the pitch with technology

People who don’t have a budget often tell me that they don’t have the time. They must be very busy people, because keeping a budget these days only takes a few minutes a day. You don’t use pencil and paper. You use your phone or your computer.

There are secure online tools that do the boring math for you. Mint is free, while YNAB (You Need A Budget) charges $ 84 per year but offers more customization. Many banks and credit unions now offer budgeting tools that make it easy to predict, for example, how much you’ll save per month if you drink one less Starbucks latte per day or buy fewer breakfasts during your work week.

Technology has blown up any excuses you had for not budgeting.

4. Get Ready For The Trick In Life Games

Whenever I tell people that they need an emergency fund that can pay their bills for at least three months, they laugh and say, “Every the week, there is an emergency in my life! It may sound true, but five tragedies can really wreck your finances:

  1. Job Loss
  2. Divorced
  3. Natural disaster
  4. Serious accident
  5. Health crisis

When one of them strikes – and if you live long enough one is probably inevitable – your whole life can fall apart. Obviously, the mental and physical stress of these situations is bad enough. But mix up the financial stress and your life can fall apart.

Many surveys show that 4 in 10 Americans cannot cover a $ 1,000 emergency. The polls also show that Americans are stressed about it.

An emergency fund is not just peace of mind. This can save you money because when disaster strikes and you are unprepared, you often use your high interest credit cards and hold balances for months or even years. , before you can repay what you owe.

How to start an emergency fund? Slowly. Using your monthly budget, you could set aside just $ 5 per week at the start. Then after a few months of not missing out on those few dollars, you could add a few more.

5. Recruit a new teammate

If you really want to take the lead in your emergency fund, ask your boss or human resources department if they can help.

Almost 95 percent of Americans are paid by direct deposit – no more paper checks – and many employers allow you to split that deposit between checking and savings accounts. Many will let you break it Three manners. So you transfer a few dollars every week to an emergency savings account. You won’t even remember doing it because you will never see it on your paycheck.

It works especially well when you get a raise. You can divert most or even all of it into your emergency fund, and before you know it, you’ll have enough to never worry about getting over bad news.

6. Automate your money

What if I told you, “I know how you can make almost $ 600, and you don’t have to do anything. In fact, you just need to Stop do something. ”Interested?

All you have to do is stop paying your late debts. Late fees and overdraft fees cost Americans an average of $ 577 per year. It’s frustrating because there is a simple and automatic solution: automatic payment.

Almost all bank and credit cards – and even many municipal utilities – offer automatic bill payment. You set the day you want an invoice paid, and that amount is automatically deducted from your bank account at that time, and not a day earlier. So you never have to pay late fees again. Best of all, after setting it up, you don’t have to do anything.

7. Check your credit reports

Nowadays, most people know the importance of their credit rating. These three numbers, which range from 300 (bad) to 850 (excellent), determine how much interest you pay on your credit cards and whether you even get a mortgage, plus each interim loan.

What most people don’t know is that your credit score is based on your credit. reports. These are itemized records of everything you’ve borrowed and paid off (or haven’t paid back). Usually, you can scan these reports for free once a year, although due to the pandemic you can do so every week until April 2022.

Checking these reports is free and Debt.com shows you how to check your credit report quickly and painlessly. Since a third of all credit reports in this country contain errors that can lead to higher interest rates, you should be very interested in checking them for errors.

8. Retirement plan

Every NFL player thinks about his retirement. Even if you are an All-Star Rookie, you know you’re a lifelong injury without football. So everyone needs to think about how to save for retirement. Fortunately, the tactic is similar to setting up an emergency fund. You can actually do both at the same time by budgeting efficiently and using your human resources department – this time to ask questions about a 401 (k).

9. Get professional help

When I was playing in the NFL, we had nutritionists, strength coaches, and physiotherapists to help us achieve peak performance. I have learned to trust the experts in their field. Now I run a debt solutions business and have credit counseling around me. These experts can get you out of debt, and most importantly, their detailed, personal debt analysis is free.

You can call a nonprofit credit counseling agency to speak to one of these counselors, but like the NFL teams, some of these agencies are better than others. If you want to find the winners, a site like Debt.com can introduce you.

10. Money is a means, not an end zone

So far we have been talking about money as a practical matter. Let’s finish by admitting that it has a psychological component. You’ve heard the terms “buying therapy” and “following the Joneses”. It’s a shortcut to spending money to make yourself feel better and spending money to make others respect or even envy you.

Decades of research have been done on silver as a self-medication and as a self-aggrandist. I just want to leave you with this thought: money is nothing more than a soccer ball. It’s just an item that helps you perform better.

I kicked a soccer ball for almost a decade. I focused on improving my distance and accuracy. I was not obsessed with the ball. I kicked the ball. The ball didn’t hit me.

Don’t let your money rule your life. Pay your money.


Before Don Silvestri became President of Debt.com, he spent two decades as a senior executive overseeing marketing, sales, strategic planning, business and product development. His background included website design, media buying, affiliate marketing, social media, lead generation, and search engine marketing.

But Don is best known for playing for NFL teams like the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Seattle Seahawks. He holds a double degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was an American scholar.

The Pitt Varsity Letter Club named Don the recipient of the 2021 Distinction Award, and he was recognized as a Hero of Hospitality and Social Service in September 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.



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