Former NFL Player Brandon Copeland Shares Money Advice on Tax Mistakes and the Power of Compound Interest

New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland films a day-in-the-life video at his South Amboy, N.
Michael Owens/The Players' Tribu / Michael Owens/The Players' Tribu

Brandon Copeland is an NFL veteran, Ivy League professor and financial education consultant. He is also a philanthropist and real estate developer. As a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Copeland developed a passion for personal finance which he delivers to Penn students and nationwide through his “Life 101” education platform. 

This Forbes 30 Under 30 member has starred in the Netflix series “Buy My House,” delivered a TED Talk and has shared his financial acumen with countless others as a member of CNBC’s Financial Wellness Council. Here he shares why his relationship with money was a “mixed bag” growing up, why he wishes he understood the power of compound interest earlier in life and how trial and error taught him to properly handle money.

What was your relationship with money like when you were growing up? 

My relationship with money growing up was a mixed bag. On one hand, I saw my mom work extremely hard to provide for us and manage money well. On the other hand, I didn’t really learn much about personal finance or investing until much later in life because unfortunately no one taught her (or anyone for that matter) this stuff. It wasn’t a topic that was discussed in my household.

Investing for Everyone

Take Our Poll: Are You Concerned About the Safety of Your Money in Your Bank Accounts?

Once you started earning your own money, what are some of the biggest financial mistakes you made?

One of the biggest financial mistakes I made early on was not fully understanding the taxes and fees associated with certain investments. Executing great, legal tax strategy efficiently is one of the quickest ways to give yourself a raise.

What do you wish you had known about money when you first started earning your own?

I wish I had known the importance of building a strong financial foundation early on. Things like saving for emergencies, investing for the long term, and managing debt can have a huge impact on your financial well-being over time. 

I also wish I had understood the power of compound interest and started investing earlier in life. It’s hard to do something you are not exposed to/you don’t even realize exists, so if I would have understood investing earlier, then I would have had my money working for me earlier as well.

How did you learn about how to properly handle money and investments?

I learned about how to properly handle money and investments through a combination of trial and error, seeking out advice from trusted financial advisors, and doing my own research and reading. 

Investing for Everyone

Over time I have developed my own strategy and relationship with money. It’s an ongoing process, but I’ve definitely come a long way from where I started.

Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting for this article.

More From GOBankingRates

Investing for Everyone

About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

Learn More


See Today's Best
Banking Offers