By Rachel Terrill, Player Engagement Insider
When you are no longer an NFL player, your financial picture changes and so should your financial plan.
To help us make sense of finances after football, Maura Attardi, Director of Education with Money Management International offers some advice:
The first step for players as you are transitioning from the NFL is to assess your situation. A few steps you can take to do this include:
- Obtain a copy of your free credit report, which can be obtained from annualcreditreport.com, a site sponsored by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three major credit report providers.
You may need to communicate with your creditors if you owe money, if you’re delinquent on payments, or if you must prioritize your debts. With a plan in hand, you can negotiate an amount with each creditor for repaying your debt. Many creditors have hardship programs that might be available. It is very important that that you contact the creditors before they start their collection process. When creditors feel the clients are willing but unable to pay their debt, they will be more willing to work with them.
The best way to make creditor contact is in writing. Document any phone calls to creditors with the name, title, and telephone number of the person with whom you spoke. Follow up the telephone conversations with a letter. This will ensure that there are no misunderstandings if the creditor has given concessions or implemented a hardship plan.
- Determine the income and expenses of your new financial situation.
After determining income sources, it is necessary to get a good picture of what your current expenses look like. Understanding the expenses that we incur on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis is essential if we are to adjust any of the expenses within our budget.
Fixed expenses: Set monthly financial obligations. This might include payments for housing, vehicles, insurance, and installment credit accounts.
Variable expenses: Variable expenses are those that “vary” from month to month. Variable expenses include the cost of food, clothing, utilities, recreation, gas, auto repairs, and charitable contributions.
Periodic expenses: Periodic expenses can be thought of as “now and then” expenses; usually they come at a specific time of year or for a specific event. Periodic expenses might include auto registration, insurance, back-to-school clothes, holiday gifts, and such.
Looking back to bank statements, credit card statements, and receipts may help you get the most accurate accounting of your expenses. After finding a total of your current expenses, subtract that number from your available income to see how much is left over. You may need to make changes to your budget to avoid future debt.
Everyone wants to have a positive net worth, it means you have more assets (things you own) than you do liabilities (things you owe). But even if you do not have a positive net worth right now, knowing your current position is the first step towards changing it. You can begin to make new financial decisions with that ultimate net worth in mind.
- Analyze available resources that will determine a short-term spending plan or a new long-term plan at a new and/or different income.
- Set priorities and create a new financial plan. In some cases, careful review of your budget and implementing step-down spending in certain areas can help ease the financial strain through transition.
Step down spending is a method used in order to assist people with still meeting expenses that the have, but perhaps in a more cost-effective way. Unfortunately, there will be expenses that we must eliminate all together or at least consider downsizing in the event of a change in income.
NFL-specific resources are available at https://www.mygoalline.com. My Goal Line will allow you to access all of your NFL financial plans in one place. My Goal Line offers a summary of the financial benefits that you earned from your time in the NFL including your Retirement Pension Plan, your Second Career Savings Plan, the Annuity Program, and your HRA Plan (along with information about other NFL and NFLPA programs).
My Goal Line also offers financial calculators to help you and your financial advisors determine what your plan benefits may be worth in the future. Plan forms, beneficiary designations, and other documents are also available on the site.
Be sure to continue working closely with your financial team for personalized advice after you retire just as you were during your time in the league.