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FIRE and pensions in pro sports
Old 04-26-2019, 12:12 PM   #1
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FIRE and pensions in pro sports

Are there pensions or retirement plans in pro sports? Something beyond an IRA and 401k? If the teams don't offer them, I'd hope players' unions do. With most pro careers over and done by age 40, if not earlier, players can need income for a potentially very long FIRE period. Just because players rake in millions of dollars during their 20s doesn't mean they are saving any.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:00 PM   #2
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And did I mention girls?

I have read the average NFL career is 3 years. The league offers financial counseling as part of rookie orientation, but there are innumerable cases where that counseling didn't sink in. I expect the other big sports leagues do the same, and get similar results. It's too bad, but I can't realistically imagine it not to be inevitable.

Consider a 23 year old male, awash in brain-numbing testosterone, ego fully inflated by adoring sports media types, handed a contract worth more in a year than his parents earned in their whole lives. Saving something for retirement obviously will be his top priority, ahead of girls and sports cars and girls and fame and girls and parties and girls. NOT!

I can't guarantee that I'd have been wiser in that situation, but I had all the athletic ability of a slug on Valium, so I was passed over in the draft and never offered a contract.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:06 PM   #3
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I know a local guy here in town that pitched for the White Sox for a good while. I understand he gets a pension (monthly) from MBL based on 10 years of active playing. He pitched decades ago, though, before the BIG money contracts.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:23 PM   #4
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Have you ever wondered what becomes of the below-average Joe once he retires? You know, the guy that played for the league minimum for several years before calling it quits? What happens to them 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years after their careers end? Are they being financially supported by their former employer or are they working two jobs to support themselves and their families?

While players enter the NFL at a later average age than most leagues, they also leave it an earlier age too. The game has simply become too dangerous and debilitating to play for a long period of time and players are starting to fear for their safety. The average NFL career is about 3.3 years, with an average career salary of roughly $6.1 million. This means that for someone who starts his career at the age of 22, by his 26th birthday, chances are, he’s no longer in the league.
Primary Retirement Plan: Pension
Eligibility: The NFL bases their pension plan on ‘credited seasons’, meaning a season where a player is on an active/inactive roster and/or injured reserve for a minimum of three games. Players become fully eligible for benefits once they’ve amassed three credited seasons in the league.



I remember many older players who became newscasters, owned car dealerships, sold insurance. I think today is better but you never know. I w*rked with a guy who was a backup MLB, played behind a future HOF guy, so his playing was mainly garbage time and special teams. At one time he went on an interview with another team for $$$. They went over his physical exam with him. He had no idea how many bones he'd broken during his brief career.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:42 PM   #5
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Are there pensions or retirement plans in pro sports? Something beyond an IRA and 401k?
yes - I'm almost certain that teams of the nba, nfl, mlb, nhl participate in multi-employer defined benefit plans

found a link that describes them https://www.investopedia.com/financi...ion-plans.aspx
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:48 PM   #6
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yes - I'm almost certain that teams of the nba, nfl, mlb, nhl participate in multi-employer defined benefit plans

found a link that describes them https://www.investopedia.com/financi...ion-plans.aspx
Wow the pension for the NFL @ 3 years of "service" is $21,360. I wonder if health coverage is provided as well? Man, that's TERRIBLE!!!

Ok, this is confusing...which is it?

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The NFL could stand for "Not For Long," with the average career lasting only three years - just enough to qualify for the league's pension plan. The league's plan is based on years of service in the league. A player with the minimum three years of play would receive an annual pension check of $21,360 at retirement. On average, retired players receive an annual pension check of about $43,000.

Players who retired in the '80s and '90s receive anywhere from $3,000-5,640 per month for every season played in the NFL. Newly retired players (since 1998) receive $5,640 monthly for every year of service.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:53 PM   #7
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A pension is better than no pension at all. A number of ex pro athletes are assistant or head coaches at the local high schools here in Florida to supplement their income.
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:05 PM   #8
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Ex-pro athletes have name recognition, and I'm guessing it's pretty easy for most of them to find a job after they hang up the cleats. Of course they may have to adopt a more typical lifestyle than during their playing days.
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:07 PM   #9
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The real pensions have only kicked in lately. Somehow I've managed to work with a few NFL prospects and short timers. Great in college and then just another guy on the street. The recent stories about NCAA sports being a cesspool are true in my mind.
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:27 PM   #10
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I have two neighbors who are retired pro athletes (NFL and NHL).

They do ok...well enough to live in my neighborhood; one took his pro money and bought a campground that seems to pay the bills, not sure about the other.

But here's the thing: Even though they've been retired for 30 years, they still get incredible freebies. Tickets to the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, accommodations, any regular pro sports game, free tickets for ski resorts and to just about anything.

One of them took me to Fenway Park...seats in the private club box and.....he parked his car about a mile away, made a phone call and within a minute, a police car came and picked us up, dodged all the traffic and took us to a private entrance. Same thing as we left...no traffic jam to deal with. Not sure how that works but it was impressive. He paid for nothing!

The thing is, these guys were good but not great and only played for a half-dozen years each. One can only imagine what handouts the big names get!
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:31 PM   #11
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.....I remember many older players who became newscasters, owned car dealerships, sold insurance......
When I started at my last MegaCorp in 1988, the HR Director for our small division was a former NFL lineman (played in the early '60s).
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:19 PM   #12
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A few ex pro athletes live in my part of FL. I have seen the guys get comped or get discounted dining, hotel and other buying experiences. Usually in return, the athletes pose for pictures or promotional matters. Some work out in the local gym and are really nice guys when you get to know them.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:27 PM   #13
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I always "heard" that Dennis Rodman put is signing bonus in an IRA knowing he couldn't access it until his "later" years. Smart man.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:27 PM   #14
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The PGA Tour has a very sweet pension plan. Not certain of the exact formula they use but the pension is based on the number of PGA Tournaments played in, cuts made, and money earned. Read an article in Golf Digest that stated Justin Leonard, who had a good (12 PGA Tour wins) but not great career, has a pension of close to $60M waiting for him.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:37 PM   #15
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Some players (and/or their agents) were also smart enough to defer the money they earned until well into the future, after they retired. I believe Bobby Bonilla was among the first to do, even though he retired in 2001, he will be receiving over a million dollars every year until 2035, when he is 72.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:58 PM   #16
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My dad was a major league baseball player for the years he wasn't in the army between WW II and Korean war....1946-1950. After Korea calmed down he said to hell with it and went back to the farm at age 28.


He didn't get a nickel pension from the army or major league baseball. He never asked or expected anything either. He said the army was his job as an American and baseball beat milking cows. He hated the army but had fun playing baseball. No regrets, no expectations. He said, "I can't believe I got paid me to play baseball, it sure beat the infantry."
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