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Going for broke: Many pro athletes still struggling with finances

Ryan Dorfman, Cronkite News on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Carpenter agrees that divorce has cost players.

"All of a sudden, you've got 15 million in your bank account and five million in debt and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. Now, your 15 million dollars dips to seven and a half million dollars. And then you're being asked to pay child support, spousal support, alimony, and now your seven and a half million dollars just went to zero. And you still have five million in debt."

This leaves many athletes asking "What can I do to protect myself?"

One idea is to receive a "financial education," but as Dias explains, sometimes large brokerage firms will come to universities and educate players on how they plan on selling them once they make it.

"Financial education is a great piece, but it really depends on how you're getting that financial education and who's teaching it to you," Dias said.

Even though many of these athletes are smart, Dias said, some accountants are taking advantage of them and draining their assets with phony tax credits and deductions.

"They get surprised in maybe a few different ways," Dias said. "One of the ways is that they've been falsely told their investments are doing really well when maybe they're not. When it comes time that they might need some money from those investments, that's where a lot of these problems arise, and they find out that these investments were maybe some scam or scheme."

Responsible athletes exist, too. Ryan Broyles, a star wideout at Oklahoma from 2008-2012 who spent three years with the Detroit Lions, took matters into his own hands after making approximately $3.6 million in the NFL.

"Ryan Broyles had this great philosophy," Dias said. "He was earning $600,000. He was living off of 10 percent of his salary. That is a good benchmark to live off of. He's been saving the rest."

"Any money that I have, or that I can make, I try to think, first, how can I invest this," Broyles said.

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