Man sitting with a bankruptcy attorney

Why Do So Many Professional Athletes End Up Declaring Bankruptcy?

Whether you watched the big game between the Eagles and the Chiefs because you love football, or you were more into the snacks and commercials, you can’t deny the fact that America is obsessed with football. 

Watching professional athletes flawlessly execute moves many of us tried to emulate on the playground is fun. As is thinking about what could have happened if we had even a little bit of their talent. 

It makes many people envious to think there are people getting paid — often significant amounts — to play a game while the rest of us watch. But maybe the grass isn’t as green on the playing field as it looks from this side of the fence. 

According to Sports Illustrated, “78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce” within two years of retirement. And well-paid players in other sports fare just as poorly. Why is personal bankruptcy so common among professional athletes? 

Knowledge Is Power

The Sports Illustrated article mentioned above talks about how many athletes get no — or really bad — financial advice. Financial management is not something most people innately understand, but people are often afraid to admit that they need help with. This is one of the reasons why the law requires people who want to file for bankruptcy to get credit counseling and take debtor education classes

These classes are often seen as just another hoop to jump through, but learning how to budget and spend wisely is a skill that can benefit you long after your bankruptcy case is closed. Going through life without some basic education about handling your finances is like trying to become a professional athlete without working with a good coach or trainer — do-able, but much more difficult. 

Job Losses & Health Problems

The article also points out that few athletes make the eye-popping salaries that make headlines. Most work for the league minimum. And even well-paid athletes only work in their chosen field for a few years, with many of them getting sidelined by serious injuries that cost a lot of money to treat. 

Job losses and unexpected healthcare expenses are common precursors to bankruptcy for many people, so it should be no surprise that professional athletes also face these risks. 

A Team Of All-Stars On Your Side

Whether you are a professional athlete, or a regular Wisconsinite, you can count on the team at Hanson & Payne to assist you when you are in financial distress. Our experienced team of attorneys has a bankruptcy playbook for every situation. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting at our office in downtown Milwaukee.