An NFL Hall-of-Famer Who Pays His Own Bills

I like this guy. Heidi Moore has a nice interview with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, who quickly taught himself about money when he started making it, though he had to learn the hard way at first. Now he teaches financial literacy classes in his free time and is passionate about teaching kids financial discipline early on.

What was your reaction when you got your first NFL paycheck?

I was grateful to receive it – and I knew this time to put it in the bank. I did not spend money outside of basic needs, because I wanted to be an educated person spending that dollar. After my first signing bonus, I got a ton of advice: you should invest in this, you should invest in that. It was the mid-90s and the market was soaring. I didn’t invest in anything. Some people said I lost out. I tell them: if I invest and I’m uneducated, then I’m losing.

One thing I tell other athletes is that I paid my own bills. I didn’t depend on a wealth advisers to pay my bills. If you are using your time, your workouts, your resources to get this money, and you’re blessed to be in this league, how can you not take an hour and sit down and pay those bills? When you see that number go down every month, you’re going to see the effect of your own spending habits. Everything we do in our lives, from workouts to coaching, it takes discipline – so why not do that with your earning power? Some people say it’s easy to talk about and hard to do. It’s not hard to do. How can you not spare an hour?

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