How All-Star Athletes Manage Their Millions

April 25, 2018
Updated 6d ago

By Lauren Babbage

Ever wonder how the Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and the NBA start Steph Curry manage to turn their sports fortunes into mini-empires, and other all-star athletes end up broke after their playing days end?

Financial success requires the same dedication, preparation, and teamwork that leads to championships, said Frank Zacca, the managing director of Octagon, a wealth management firm that works with superstar athletes.

"They are making so much money while they play over a short period of time that we really want them to have the diversification and think long-term." said Zacca in an interview Wednesday with Cheddar.

A big part of his job is making sure athletes are working with reliable business partners, and that they don't throw all their money into one investment, or go chasing hot sectors like technology and real estate.

It's also important to plan ahead so that earnings from a relatively short sports career can last into the next stages of an athletes life.

"Not everyone is a superstar," said Zacca. "These guys start with nothing. They make their money over a quick period of time and it's tough to educate them early on."

The average salary in the NFL is $1.9 million, and with the NFL draft this week, a number of young players will be looking forward to their first contract.

Young athletes need to know what they're getting into and create different streams of income, like endorsement deals, Zacca advised. And savings are important so that they're not just living paycheck to paycheck, no matter how big a check it might be.

For the full interview, click here.