WHAT PRO ATHLETES NEED TO KNOW WHEN CHOOSING A FINANCIAL ADVISOR
As an athlete, one of the hardest things to do is to make money playing sports. Less than .05% of high school athletes will ever become professional athletes. Choosing a financial advisor for athletes should be easy but unfortunately, it is not. In this article, we will discuss how to choose a financial advisor for athletes.
The things to consider, evaluate, and all-out avoid.
The first step in evaluating a financial advisor is to understand what questions to ask. While a nice office, big boardrooms, and Fuji water are nice it does not move the needle for you in your career. What does move the needle is finding an advisor that has the necessary combination of competence, experience, and expertise. After all, you are in a situation that less than .05% of the population is in.
What to consider, evaluate, and all-out avoid.
1. Who do you work with?
Ask most financial advisors who they work with, and you will probably get a response like this: “We work with clients with over $1,000,000 in assets.” The problem with this is it only considers a small part of a client’s financial life.
The amount of money someone has does not reflect the challenges that they face in their life.
For athletes, managing money at a young age brings about hyper-specific challenges. It is one that few financial advisors have ever seen or dealt with. You want to ensure that your financial advisor works specifically with people like you.
A more appropriate response to this question would be: “We serve as financial advisors for athletes, that is our specialty and what we do best.” Consider for a second if you were going in for an off-season procedure on an injury. Would you want a general doctor to be doing the surgery or would you want a specialist who only works on that particular injury?
Choosing a financial advisor for an athlete should be viewed through the same lens.
2. What expertise should an athlete financial advisor have?
As an athlete, you have a condensed earning window heightened by higher-than-normal earning power. This can be a great combination when executed properly. This formula executed incorrectly has led to the financial downfall of many athletes.
The truth is the term “financial advisor” is one of the broadest in professional services. It takes very few qualifications to simply call yourself a financial advisor. This leads to many salesmen parading around as qualified experts. So how do you distinguish between an amateur and a professional?
What qualifications does your team have that make you an expert?
Real-World Experience: A financial advisor for athletes should be a combination of higher education and personal experiences. Remember, as a professional athlete you are in the less than .5% of the population that will make money playing your sport. For most financial advisors, it is a struggle to comprehend the rollercoaster that is professional sports. This includes the tactical strategies to benefit you as well as financial education.
Advanced designations: The highest of these is the CFP, which stands for Certified Financial Planner. This is a combination of education, experience, and ethics. Every athlete should ensure their financial team incorporates a member with a CFP designation.
3. How will you help me build my team?
Just like every athlete is a member of the team, your financial life should work the same way. A financial advisor for athletes should have the resources and network to help build the team of professionals. This team should be athlete-specific and world-class. The goal of having this team is to protect you from the unknown (insurance), reduce your lifetime tax bill (taxes), and help you plan for leaving a legacy (estate planning).
Your team should consist of:
Financial Advisor: Your point person for your family’s financial life.
Accountant: The team member that will help you execute tax strategies specific to you that will lower your lifetime tax bill.
Insurance Agent: As an athlete, you are an easy target. The goal is to protect what you have worked so hard to earn.
Estate Planning Attorney: Athletes have an opportunity to create generational wealth for their families. The key is to build a plan to make that happen.
This is the core four of your financial team. As an athlete, there are a lot of moving parts in your financial life, and it takes everyone on your team working together.
4. What areas do you cover?
The days of a financial advisor simply helping you pick an investment portfolio is over (at least they should be). As an athlete, your advisor should be serving as the point person for your entire financial life. So, what does that entail?
Cash Flow: As an athlete, you have direction around your routine, workouts, and preparation. Your finances need to have that same direction. As money is coming in you want to have a plan for spending, saving, and investing each dollar.
Tax Planning: Taxes will be your single biggest expense as a professional athlete. Your financial advisor should be forward-looking to determine what tax strategies you can use to lower your lifetime tax liability. (There are a lot that are specific to professional athletes)
Risk Management: Simply, how do you protect what you have worked so hard to earn? The most common forms of protection include proper home, auto, renters, and umbrella insurance policies.
Estate Planning: Your financial advisor should coordinate and have core estate planning documents drawn up by an attorney. This provides direction for your assets and allows you to start building a legacy.
Investments: As a professional athlete, you have the blessing of having a long runway to invest money. You want to ensure that your investments are diversified, tax efficient, and built to support your lifestyle.
5. Things to Avoid
Conflicts of Interest – A financial advisor should be serving in a fiduciary copacity 100% of the time.
Insurance First Firms – Many firms market as financial advisors but focus mainly on insurance products. Insurance has its place but it is insurance, not an investment.
Shiny Object Syndrome – Your finances are personal; they should stay that way. Be aware of advisors parading around their client list. Soon they will be telling everyone they work with you.
Layered Fee Structures – Financial advisor fees should be transparent. If you can’t understand how they are getting paid ask. Many financial firms have layered fees on top of what they market, meaning more fees for the end client.
Choosing the right financial advisor for you is a combination between fit, feel, and firepower. A financial advisor for athletes needs to have competence, experience, and expertise in understanding your unique situation as an athlete.
Remember, you are in the .05%, is your financial advisor?
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*The tax and estate planning information offered by Moment Private Wealth is general in nature. It is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.