Carl Nassib has been trying to advance professional sports culture even before Monday, when he became the first active professional football player to come out as gay. But his focus has been on the financial lives of NFL players.
In a league where some players may fall into bankruptcy soon after retirement, Nassib has been talking to teammates about good financial habits, and the challenges players face when they become very rich, very quickly.
The 28-year-old Las Vegas Raiders defensive end with a $25 million three-year contract and 20.5 career sacks knows compound interest, index funds and the need to budget just like he knows a nickel and dime formation on the field.
In a league where some players may fall into bankruptcy soon after retirement, Nassib has been talking to teammates about good financial habits and smart money moves.
All sorts of people could stand to have more financial literacy, but professional athletes have an especially acute need.
They quickly come into a lot of money at a young age, and get vaulted into a high-profile, potentially high-spending lifestyle. Meanwhile, there’s always the chance for injuries that cut short careers and massive money-making opportunities.
An estimated 16% of NFL players went bankrupt within 12 years of retirement, according to a 2015 study. Sometimes, it just takes two years before an ex-player files for bankruptcy, they noted.
That’s where people like Nassib, and others, come in trying to build up athletes’ financial savvy.
‘I didn’t want to pay someone to manage my money’
“I didn’t want to pay somebody to manage my own money, so I took a while, but I educated myself, and wanted to share that new knowledge with my teammates, Nassib said in a 2019 CNBC interview.
On Monday, Nassib put that same focus on the need to share and improve the world around him in his Instagram
announcement. Nassib hoped there’d be a day when coming out declarations were “not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Here’s five of Nassib’s greatest financial hits:
Compound interest: In one 2018 financial chalk talk, Nassib, then with the Cleveland Browns, broke down the power of compound interest to teammates. “We got a lot of money now, right? This is the easiest equation to make you rich,” he said, according to a clip from HBO’s Hard Knocks, an inside look at football teams.
Seven years of 10% returns would essentially double the initial investment, he told them. “Bro, it’s crazy,” Nassib said in lesson laden with F-bombs. (Nassib later said his grandmother watched the clip and called him out about the cursing.)
Index funds: Nassib plays the market — at least to a point. He’s previously said he puts money in index funds and then lets them do the work to build his portfolio over time. “Being young. Younger. We have a much larger time span to invest, so, I think with long-term investing, index funds are a great tool,” Nassib told CNBC anchors.
‘Being young. Younger. We have a much larger time span to invest, so, I think with long-term investing, index funds are a great tool.’
— Carl Nassib on index funds
Living within your means: During that same 2019 interview, Nassib said spending within financial means is a “pretty solid” approach to money. That’s, of course, a widely-held view – but it can be harder to carry out.
Nassib said that he spends $3,500 monthly during the football season and $5,500 in the off season. The off season is when Nassib said he has more time to travel and his food expenses grow without team-supplied meals.
“It’s a matter of realizing your spending habits and living below your means, and more and more NFL players are doing that every day,” he said.
Budgeting: Nassib is a budgeter. It’s taken some time to learn the skill, Nassib admitted during the 2019 CNBC interview. “I’ve gotten much better at Excel
” he said, adding that he aims to give himself $400 to $500 of money for miscellaneous money that isn’t earmarked for something else.
Giving Back: In Nassib’s announcement Monday, he said he was donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide and crisis prevention organization for LGBTQ youth.
“They’re an incredible organization,” Nassib said, adding he was “very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can.”
The donation will help The Trevor Project scale up its services, according to Amit Paley, the organization’s CEO and executive director.
“Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make,” Paley said. “We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams.”
Americans made a record $471 billion in charitable contributions last year, according to the GivingUSA Foundation.