It’s so glamorous to be a football superstar. Week in-week out all your great playing skills are showcase on major sports television stations such as ESPN, Super sports, BBC sports etc. Over ten billion eyeballs see your performance on set every week all over the earth.
Everyone want to associate with you, younger aspiring players want to be like you, advertisers want to endorse you as their brand face, your nation government want to use you to break a major campaign that will catch the attention of the people. It looks so wonderful right? Wrong!
Let me not deceive you, it’s a jungle out there! Many believe that playing professional football is not a career. The risks are so high, the stakes are too much and you may not be able to survive the tantrum, not for too long.
With just the next game, a football player’s career might just end even before it begins, that is, if he sustains a major injury that brings his career to a sudden end.
The demand on you to play on your peak performance week in-week out could drain the life out of you. And if performance goes down or if you make a costly mistake in a game, you may never have a second chance especially if you are a foreign player. Your contract may even be terminated and your career is finished.
Indeed, playing professional football is one of the shortest careers I have ever known. The average age to start playing for a major professional club is 20years and by 35years, your career is over; unless you have such special strength as Paolo Madini or Edward van da sar. In just 15years your career is over, that is, if it stays that long. The peak performance period of most players does not last for more than 5 to 10years.
Planning to retire before you’re tired of playing professional football is the key to a successful career. The moment you start to earn money, start to plan your retirement! Good enough if your career is well managed, you’ll be earning as much Dollars during your peak performance period – but that’s the trap!
The greatest mistake most professional football players make is to squander their present earnings in wait for such a time in their career when they will be earning big bucks – it may never come!
The wise thing to do is, everyday you’re able to complete a game without qualms, is yet another opportunity to turn about 70% of your earnings into investments. Learn to stop squandering your earnings on liabilities such as expensive private cars, private houses, private jets or flirting that cost much more to maintain and does not bring anything in return.
While still playing active professional football, do not invest on businesses that require your attention in the day to day running of its activities. You may never have the time. Professional football requires all your attention as well as all your time.
You may as well loose lots of money if you play by emotion to hand over your investments to a relative or friend that does not have the competence. You’re surely trading the road to developing bad blood between you and your folks.
Engage experts to handle your investment portfolio. Invest in stocks and bonds or other capital/ money market instruments. Buy shares from blue-chip companies that have existed for a long period such Coca-Cola, Guinness, and Procter&Gamble etc. They’ve the experience to remain afloat. However, seek expert advice from trusted stockbrokers before you invest.
Remember that you may not be able to play effectively on the trading floor while still playing professional football – only little genius can do that. Look for stocks whose performance earning (PE) may seem to appreciate slowly over a long period. The risks are usually lower. Then, don’t put all your eggs in one basket - diversify your investments.
Invest in real estate. Buy land at low price in remote areas that may develop in the next 10 to 15years time. Surveyor the land and secure them with barricades to avoid encroachment. Land usually appreciate in value over a period of time, especially when development come to that area.
Build or buy houses for commercial purposes. Rent it out or lease it. You could invest on building warehouse or shopping plaza. They’re usually good business. It does not require rocket science or management theories to collect rents from tenants. All you need is to engage an estate managers/ agents to handle your properties for you.
As a professional football player, always ask yourself this profound question; if my playing career suddenly ends today, what next?
Benson Chukwueke is the CEO of Greenhunters Sports International. Greenhunters also manage investment portfolio for professional players and coaches