Football

Sterling Sullivan offers financial advice to NFL hopefuls at Showcase

Calamos Wealth Management financial adviser Sterling Sullivan held a seminar at the Gridiron Showcase in Bedford.
Calamos Wealth Management financial adviser Sterling Sullivan held a seminar at the Gridiron Showcase in Bedford.

Last December, a bankruptcy auction in Belleville, Ill., featured autographed game jerseys of Michael Vick, Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James.

Among the other items were some 1,000 DVDs and karaoke machines, all minor assets of former NBA all-rookie Darius Miles.

This is a story far too common in professional athletics and a story of explicit reality.

As some 80 players from across the country gathered at the College Gridiron Showcase this week in Bedford, financial adviser Sterling Sullivan delivered a financial message to this new crop of NFL draft hopefuls.

“I’m just bringing a very simple message,” Sullivan said. “You would think all of these guys would have some of these financial concepts coming out of college, but that is so far from the truth.”

Some will get drafted and some high enough to command a significant first contract salary.

Once they realize that there’s a 36 percent federal income tax, a state like California drops in another 13 percent, add in Obamacare, union dues and a jock tax in all the cities they play in, that million becomes $400-450K really quick.

Financial adviser Sterling Sullivan

Some players could be managing sales in a retail store next fall.

Either way, Sullivan wants those working toward an NFL future to soak in his message as hard they can as they prepare for an opportunity in professional football.

He wants to see them gain a level of financial literacy that keeps them away from the sad ending that reportedly Miles has found amid difficulties.

“I’m not an athlete, but I can imagine the dedication these guys have had to the game,” Sullivan said. “You have to have a singular focus, a focus on football and there’s not a lot of time to expand your intellect or think outside the box.

“One of the biggest problems is the enablers that do their best to keep players from thinking like that.”

You would think all of these guys would have some of these financial concepts coming out of college, but that is so far from the truth.

Sterling Sullivan

Sullivan said the light bulb goes off for almost every player in his seminars, when prospects realize that a million dollars, “isn’t a million dollars.”

“Once they realize that there’s a 36 percent federal income tax, a state like California drops in another 13 percent, add in Obamacare, union dues and a jock tax in all the cities they play in, that million becomes $400-450K really quick,” Sullivan said.

Having plans for the end of a career is another key point Sullivan has touted.

“I get guys that tell me all the time, when they’re done, they don’t want to take a job they don’t have to,” Sullivan said. “Russell Wilson has said publicly he wants to own an NFL franchise some day, and that kind of success requires a very disciplined and aggressive investment plan.

“He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t need a lot or spends a lot. That’s a very different approach from a lot of these guys.”

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