We are used to hearing financial tales of woe from sports stars who have spent their money poorly. From Mike Tyson’s pet tigers and $2 million gold bathtub to Terrell Owens losing millions and filing for bankruptcy, there are plenty of cautionary tales.

Yet, we can also see some useful financial lessons from NFL players. The season might be over, but the draft is happening soon. You can see on the BetAmerica website an NFL mock draft for the upcoming event happening in April. For the future stars and for us random people, we can take some advice from athletes who thrived in the sport.

Who are the pros that we should be taking some money advice from?

Don’t Take Your Current Income for Granted

The story of Craig Dahl shows us how it can be dangerous to take current income levels for granted. He signed for the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. His first contract in football earned him $400,000.

However, disaster struck when he was badly injured for a long spell and got his pay reduced by 40%. This is the type of situation that can cause financial headaches for anyone in any walk of life.

Thankfully, Dahl had chosen to play it safe and live in a modest apartment while driving a used car. This means that he wasn’t badly affected by the drop in his income and the uncertainty around his future. Things got better for Dahl when he recovered full fitness and went on to have a long, financially rewarding career in the NFL.

Choose Your Priorities

Once a player reaches a certain level in the game, they should be able to spend money on all of the different things that they want in life. However, until that point, they need to prioritize just like anyone else.

An example comes from an interview carried out with Devon Kennard. The Detroit Lions linebackers spoke about finances back when he was still playing for the New York Giants. He pointed out that you have to decide what things are most important to you.

In Kennard’s case, he decided to prioritize travel, allowing him to visit countries such as Jamaica and Costa Rica. He also carried out voluntary work in Haiti, building homes together with his USC teammates in 2012.

Make Smart Investments

It can be easy to fall into the trap of making risky investments when you are earning well. It is easy to imagine how high-earning football players are tempted to put a lot of their earnings at risk. As with anyone else, it pays to put the majority of their savings into safe investments.

Patrick Kerney was a defensive end who spent 11 seasons playing for Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. His last big contract was for $39.5 million when he joined the Seahawks in 2007. Kerney moved on to work as a business development director for an investment firm.

He points out that a rookie should live on $50,000 and put the rest in a broad mix of investments. He suggests that fairly conservative or even boring investments are the best choice for protecting your money.

Understand Your Budget

Brandon Copeland is an NFL linebacker that currently plays with the New York Jets. Away from the game, he interned at an investment bank during his college years.

He now teaches financial literacy to students at the University of Pennsylvania. Copeland pointed out in an interview the importance of “understanding every dollar you have coming in and going out.” He revealed that people are often shocked to discover how much they are spending on little things every month.

By keeping track of your income and expenses, you can live more comfortably, even if you don’t earn a fortune in the NFL.

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