For former NFL player Adewale Ogunleye, seeing anyone, let alone athletes, struggle to manage money boils him to his core.
So, he is doing something about it.
Knowing that the average playing career in the NFL is less than four years, Ogunleye’s “light bulb” moment came in his second year in the league. That’s when he said a teammate who was a high selection in that year’s draft asked him for a loan.
“I’m looking at this guy thinking, ‘I’m undrafted.’ I only had a rookie minimum salary and you’re asking me for a loan? And I was actually in a position where I could give them a loan. And so that’s where I realized there’s a problem,” Ogunleye, who played 11 NFL seasons, told USA TODAY Sports.
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Walter Stith, a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports and Entertainment division, says there is a simple reason to see how wealth grows, and it’s based on the average time an athlete has to produce income in a chosen sport.
The average career length of athletes in each of the four North American major sports is less than four years.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a temptation when it comes to wealth disappearing. I would say it’s more about obligation,” Stith, a former NFL and CFL player said. “Most of these athletes feel that they are obligated to help friends and family and it creates an issue. Financial literacy as a whole needs to be put as a priority in our educational system, especially in dealing with Black wealth and Black entrepreneurship.”
That’s one of the reasons why Ogunleye teamed with UBS and its athletes and entertainers segment, which helps their peers and underserved communities become financially literate.
Its partnerships, for instance with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, can help educate enrolled students at the 14 league schools.
UBS and SIAC have announced a virtual series, “ELEVATE! Creating and Preserving Black Wealth,” designed to introduce Black people to job opportunities in the financial industry while providing tools to become more proficient in managing money.