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As talented as many professional athletes are, they’re not a group that’s known for managing their money well.
The 2012 documentary Broke highlighted the countless number of athletes who had made and lost millions. The list goes on and on: Bernie Kosar, Keith McCants, Andre Rison, Antoine Walker, Vin Baker, and so many more.
According to the documentary, 78% of NFL players who have been retired for two years have either gone bankrupt or are under “serious financial stress.” An estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement.
And that’s why, in the middle of all the sad stories, it’s refreshing to hear about Ryan Broyles.
Broyles, a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions, was a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year contract worth more than $3.6 million, with $1.4 million guaranteed. By NFL standards, that’s a modest contract—nowhere near the income a first-round pick makes, but it’s also well above the rookie minimum.
After the draft, well aware of all the athletes who have blown through millions of dollars, Broyles sat down with a financial advisor, set a budget that allowed him to live within his means, and decided to invest the rest.
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Broyles told ESPN that he and his wife have lived on $60,000 a year throughout his career. The rest of the money has gone toward investments, retirement, and securing Broyles’ career post-football.
He recently bought a new Mazda and still owns the 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer he drove in college. Broyles keeps track of his investments regularly and increases his contribution to the NFL’s matching 401(k) plan every chance he can get.
With the average NFL career lasting only 3.5 years, Broyles knows nothing is certain. As he enters the final year of his contract, he has no guarantee to make the team.
But if he doesn’t ever play another down in the NFL, Broyles has set his family up for life. And that’s how you do it.
His story is an awesome example of how to live below your means. With his NFL salary, Broyles could drive a BMW, mortgage a large house, and make sure he had “the look” of an NFL player.
But he simply doesn’t care about that. He’s more concerned with making sure his wife and kid are financially secure than making sure he looks cool in a $100,000 leased car.
So if you ever hear someone tell you that professional athletes are stupid with their money, tell them about Ryan Broyles. In a world of overspending and financial recklessness, here’s a guy who’s doing it right.
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