Professional athletes are the ultimate high-net-worth customers. In 2010, average minimum wage for NFL rookies was $325,000, going up to $395,000 in a player’s second year and $470,000 in their third year. Average player salary, with both stars and rookies taken into consideration, was $1.1 million in 2010–for careers that typically last less than 10 years. Expensive houses, powerful cars, jewelry and high-end collectibles are all part of the picture.

But what happens when things go wrong? “Broke,” a recent episode of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, examined bankruptcy among professional athletes. According to Sports Illustrated, 78 percent of former NFL players go bankrupt after 2 years of retirement; 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within 5 years of retirement. Reasons include bad investments, excessive lifestyles, trusting family, friends or unscrupulous financial advisors, and simply failing to plan for life after retirement.


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