If you ever sit down with a financial advisor the first piece of advice they will give you is that you need to diversify. They will warn you that putting all of your eggs in one basket is extremely risky. It is risky because if something goes wrong you will lose everything. I seriously doubt that a seasoned advisor would tell you to bet your life savings on one thing. Imagine putting all of your retirement savings into Toys R Us stock. That would not yield the benefits you want.
It would be much wiser to spread your money out over growth stock mutual funds, precious metals, real estate, or a ton of other options. I believe athletes are terrible investors! We literally put all of our eggs in one basket. It is foolish to risk everything on the success of one venture especially when you know that you can’t play sports forever. Even your favorite players have to retire at some point. It’s going to end so you have to prepare for when that day comes.
The sooner you start to diversify the better. You are more than just an athlete. Start the process of spreading your eggs around. At some point you have to train more that just your body. You need to obtain other skills. Imagine if you went to the weight room week after week and the only muscles you focused on were your biceps. Imagine how crazy that would be. Instead of working your shoulders, quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps, core, and a ton of other areas you only worked your biceps. A great strength and conditioning coach is going to give you a full body workout. A great college experience prepares you for more than just game day.
Your footwork is insane and the speed ladder drill you uploaded to YouTube went viral. Congrats! Someone recorded you making 42 three pointers in a row and SportsCenter featured the video on their Instagram. That’s awesome! My question is what’s next?
Getting your degree isn’t enough. Simply having your degree does not make you completive. You need a specialized set of skills. You need some specialized knowledge. You need to diversify. You need to make a shift from focusing on nothing but the physical to developing the mental.
Being a college athlete is pretty sweet. Your athletic scholarship covers everything from your housing to your meal plan. You literally don’t have to worry about a thing. Part of transitioning into life after sports is identifying what you can bring to the marketplace that will allow you to provide for yourself. At some point you will have to move out of the dorm. At some point your card won’t work when you try to swipe it in the café. This is where diversifying comes into play.
The better you are the more you will be rewarded. It’s similar to sports. They more talented you were the more options you have. The sweet thing about life after sports is that the playing field is even. In sports being taller or quicker could give you an advantage. In the job market you decide what you bring to the table and companies will reward you and compensate you based on the value that you add. Your value has nothing to do with your natural abilities. Your value has to do with the skills you provide and your level of performance.
You can’t just focus on your sport and expect to dominate life after sports. It doesn’t work that way. You have to prepare on your own. You need to build relationships, find mentors, network, intern, and find unique things to add to your resume. You have to diversify. You have to broaden your horizons. Yes your have a crazy schedule and limited downtime but your coach is not going to foot the bill for your expenses for the rest of your life. After four years it’s over. The time will come when you will have to figure it out. Diversify now and thank yourself later.
Until next time,