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How Dan Marino, Vince Young and Other Broke NFL Players Lost Their Fortunes

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The opening game in the 2013 NFL season occurs today, September 5.

There’s something a bit disturbing about living in an economy where millions of people struggle to put food on the table, yet highly-paid celebrities who earn millions of dollars still manage to lose their fortunes and accumulate massive amounts of debt.

Yet we see it happen every day in the entertainment industry and even among politicians.

On the football field, there is no shortage of broke NFL players who started off wealthy, but were unable to hold on to their fortunes. Why is this occurring, and what can the average American learn from these athletes in order to avoid the same unfortunate financial fate?

Percent of NFL Players Bankrupt Is Extremely High

I ran across an interesting statistic today. According to Sports Illustrated, approximately two years after retirement, the percent of NFL players bankrupt or financially stressed is a whopping 78 percent. Say what now? This means more than three-fourths of players either can’t manage their money, or have people “in their corner” who choose not to manage their money well.

Then there are always those people who didn’t have much money early in life, then come across a small fortune, and go a bit wild when they do.

But going on a wild shopping spree and filing for bankruptcy are two different things. So what is contributing to this astounding statistic? Excessive spending, poor investments, child support and over-the-top generosity are all to blame.

For some top NFL players, in particular, their excessive wealth became way too much to handle, resulting in losses that were just as significant as their financial gains.

Four Broke and Bankrupt NFL Players

The NFL has produced some of the most talented athletes we have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, the league has also introduced us to some of the most financially strapped. Below is a short list of some of the more popular players who have struggled with money management issues in recent years.

1. Dan Marino

Dan MarinoDan Marino, a former quarterback for the Miami Dolphins with a decorated NFL career, recently suffered a major financial setback after losing big in a major investment.

The nine-time Pro Bowler and current analyst with CBS’ The NFL Today, has accumulated millions over his career, but it seems he lost a major portion of that money in one investment in a company called Digital Domain from which he purchased 1,575,525 shares.

The company is popular for producing the famous hologram of dead rapper Tupac Shakur at the Coachella celebration earlier this year. However, the company recently filed for bankruptcy, taking Marino’s stock with it.

According to reports, the 51-year old Marino’s investment may have resulted in a loss of $14 million. (Image: bonanzasports.net)

2. Vince Young

Vince YoungVince Young is a quarterback in the NFL. Drafted by the Tennessee Titans, the popular player spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills before being cut from the team and becoming a free agent.

Losing his spot with the Bills isn’t the only worry Young has faced. In recent weeks, he made headlines for struggling financially, despite earning around $26 million after six seasons in the NFL.

Apparently, the 29-year-old didn’t suffer from one major investment gone wrong. Instead, he says his financial planner misappropriated $5.5 million of his money. Other reports show Young took out a loan for $1.9 million that is currently in default.

However, some say that Young also mismanaged his own money. Need an example? He reportedly spent a shocking $5,000 per week at the Cheesecake Factory in his early years. (Image: aaronisnotcoo)

3. Luther Elliss

Luther EllissLuther Elliss is a former NFL player who spent his time as a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos. The two-time Pro Bowler was known for his skills on the field, but not so much when it came to money management.

Ellis was reportedly paid nearly $11.6 million from 2000-2004 for his time in the NFL. But now, the former lineman is relying on area churches and friends to pay his bills after suffering from financial collapse and filing for bankruptcy.

The reasons for his financial suffering fall into the categories of failed investments and debt. Specifically, he and his wife owed hundreds of thousands in mortgage debt and $37,500 in delinquent state and local taxes. (Image: sltrib.com)

4. Travis Henry

Travis HenryTravis Henry is another Pro Bowler who spent time with the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos. He is also a player who has struggled to manage his finances, especially when it comes to paying for his children.

Henry reportedly has nine children with nine different mothers — some of whom were born within months of one another. This alone could be a recipe for financial disaster (imagine the bill for diapers!). But it seems that Henry’s child support disputes are sending him to the poor house.

In 2009, he could not afford the estimated $170,000 a year he owed for his children and was ultimately jailed for falling $16,600 behind on support payments. (Image: deadspin.com)

 

Related — Winning a Gold Medal Doesn’t Guarantee a Golden Future: 4 Broke Olympic Gold Medalists

Avoid the Fate of Broke NFL Players

No matter how much you earn in your lifetime, there’s nothing worse that discovering that the money you’ve accumulated is somehow lost to bad financial decisions. The good news is you don’t have to join the ranks of bankrupt NFL players. Here are some steps you can take to avoid their fates:

  • Create a budget: One important step in ensuring that you don’t mismanage your money is to always know how much is flowing. This means keeping track of what you are earning and how much you are spending. A great way to accomplish this goal is to set up a budget.
  • Live within your means: Once you have set up your budget, you need to live by it. This means not spending more than your finances can handle. This especially applies to big-ticket items like cars and homes. Before you commit to major purchases, be sure you have planned all associated costs well.
  • Pay your bills on time: Many people struggle financially because they fail to pay their bills on time and, in turn, accumulate further penalties and other fees. Also, keep in mind that missing too many payments could result in default (if you have a loan), or a collection action, which could cost you even more. To avoid these issues, simply pay everything when due.
  • Avoid impulsive purchases: As Vince Young discovered, excessive purchases can really catch up with you. To avoid a fate like his, curb your impulse spending and instead plan within your budget money that can be spent on fun.

Once you take time to examine your finances, and abide by the financial rules you’ve set up for yourself, it will become much easier to keep track of your money. While you may not earn the money these NFL players have in their lifetimes, you can rest assured that you won’t suffer their financial losses.

 

Share This Article

  • Ashley

    Honestly, I’m not that surprised. It’s the same with lottery winners, and being that good at football is kind of like winning the lottery.

  • http://ESPN Tim B.

    As a Dolphin fan, I;m very surprised by this. There is NO #$%^ way I’d ever sink that much in a startup company, even a Big Fortune 500 one. I hope the NFL today pays him well, otherwise I’m afraid he end up filing for bankruptcy..

  • Tyrone Donsectes

    Hilarious. Brilliant on the field, dumb as a rock off. Travis needs to keep his penis away from women. God knows they are evil creatures who have bled him dry financially and put him in the poor house.

  • Grayden

    Tim B. Digital Domain isn’t a start up company, they do CGI/visual effects for Hollywood films.

  • Drew

    I think the NFL should set up a trust fund for each player, and 50% of every bonus/game check should be automatically deposited into their fund. They could then start accessing those funds either at age 35 or 5 years after they stop playing. This would at least minimize the financial ruin a 22-year old who has just been handed millions can cause.

    • dothan

      Some shady financial firm would probably circumvent that delay, paying pennies on the dollar to some washed-up NFL player screaming “IT’S MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW!”.

  • Bill

    I agree with Drew in that some sort of trust fund should be started for each player by the NFL to provide a safty net for the players when their playing days are over. This will show that NFL do care about the players and not just about dollars they bring in.

  • bo

    dan marino could make alot of money. one of the all-time greats by signatures and events. i doubt he goes broke. he might have lost alot of money but still think he can make it back but not much chance for the other guys.

  • PBG

    As far as Marino cant say I feel bad,always seemed phony with inflated ego as many others here in S.Fl have said.

  • Kirk

    Why should the league do anything at all? If any of the players are foolish enough to squander their money, so be it. These guys are probably all for privatizing Social Security as well.

  • tom woodward

    Lovely! Just Fu_king lovely!!

  • Tiger

    It all starts with good personal decisions. It’s not someone else’s fault.

    A current player stated last year, his rookie season, in a private meeting, “. I am going to live on half my income until I retire from the league. With the rest, I’m going to put in low-risk investments and go into business after my career is over.”

    This kid was a first-rounder and is performing up to expectations.

    If more of these guys had this process in place, we wouldn’t hear these stories so often.

  • DJ

    - create a budget
    - live within your means
    - pay your bills on time
    - avoid impulse purchases
    - wear a f*#&ing condom

  • e2657383

    They’re mostly Black.

    • Joe

      Doesn’t matter there are whites who are broke too.

      • Dale Cosby

        Yes, it does go both ways. It also has nothing directly to being black but sadly, there are those that manipulate politics such that blacks are seen as “victims” and it has produced a society where a large portion of blacks aren’t raised with the responsibility that they need. When a black player from a poor family gets drafted, they often don’t have a dad who was active in their lives but they do have “friends” that will bleed them dry. Black players that had fathers that were responsible in raising them often do very well.

  • marlinman

    Horrible article……Dan Marino is far from broke

  • Brian Huber

    Adding investment advice for everyone to avoid the fate of financially troubled pro athletes: stick with basic stocks and bonds. Don’t put money in exotic ventures unless you are personally involved in managing them by contributing specific skills.

  • WAS

    In addition to all of the reasons stated, there is one that has been overlooked or not recognized…Does anyone really believe that any of these idiots really attended class when they were “enrolled” in college?

  • DWornock

    I agree they are mostly black, partly because most NFL players are black but mostly because a higher percentage of blacks have poor (very low income) families. The primary reason is the grew up in low income families. There is very little difference in the money behavior of poor blacks and poor whites. Typically give a poor person money and he or she will waste it.

    Although a few from wealthy families have poor money behavior and a few from poor families have outstanding money behavior, they are exceptions and not the rule.

  • Shoeless J.

    No sympathy for these overpaid sobs. In one year they make more than I will in a lifetime of work………..after getting a degree and working 35 years. Fuck ‘em!!!

  • notalib

    LOL must be getting investment advice from Obama!

  • mewcomm

    Did it ever occur to the many here with sage advice, that these men are doing exactly what they want to with their money? They are adults and have made their own decisions. Their behavior is their own. As it should be.

  • Dillon Flaherty III

    Chance’s are I could spend $60,000 setting up a good looking re-cording studio. I could sell 3 share’s at a million per share, to three football player’s, for the purpose of being Rap song producers. There would be a private party room, adjoining the studio, ya know. Send em a check for $10,000 a month, for about 14 months, then skip town.

  • Jesse

    Dan Marino still has a net worth of some 35 million. While he lost a considerable amount of his wealth in a bad investment (14 million) 35 million is hardly broke. Doesn’t belong on this list.