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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Financial Training Camp

There was a great article in the Washington Post which talked about a financial education program Joe Gibbs is starting up initially with the Redskins but hopes to expand league wide.

The article mentioned a story about how Joe Gibbs made financial mistakes, how he recovered from that and the financial lessons he has learned. That reminded me of a book Joe endorsed, hence the picture for this post, which talks about some of the challenges we all face.

And yes, it is well worth reading and I highly recommend it.

Here is my edited version of the Washington Post Article by Mike Wise.

Joe Gibbs helping Washington Redskins players to gain the financial savvy he lacked when he was younger

Joe Gibbs spent most of two days at Redskins Park on June 1-2 meeting with many of the team's key veterans, two of their wives and about 20 players in all.

"I wanted to give back," Gibbs said in a telephone interview. "I just thought this was something I could do for the players."

Joe Gibbs talked money with the Redskins early last month. For help, he enlisted two university professors with Harvard MBAs.

He humbly spoke of how, during the early 1980s in Washington, Gibbs lost his personal fortune because of financial ignorance. How he felt helpless when several of his former players -- some in contract disputes -- confessed to him about making bad business decisions that negatively affected their careers. And how every team in the NFL needs the kind of OTA that recently transpired in Ashburn: a free-of-charge financial seminar Gibbs partnered with Strayer University to put on.

Is it needed?

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated story, 78 percent of all NFL players go bankrupt or are in financial duress just two years into retirement.

As Gibbs learned a long time ago, banks don't discriminate at collection time.

About the time he won his first of three Super Bowls and started to become the most revered sports figure in Washington's history, Gibbs got involved in an Oklahoma real estate deal that went belly up. He lost everything because he didn't understand his liability if another person signed on his behalf.

"It probably took [his wife] Pat and me four and a half years to pay off our debts," Gibbs said. "I just didn't know anything, like the difference between a simple partnership and a LLC."

Hence, Gibbs's brainstorm a couple of months ago: Instead of one NFL-sponsored seminar players could sign up for at a certain time of year, why not bring the class to the training facility?

The next step was getting the owner and the coach to go along, which they willingly did.

"Joe asked us to support this program, and we're happy to oblige," Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said through a team spokesman. "Anything that helps players we're in full support of."

What were some of the topics covered?

"Something as simple as creating a budget, how to put away money properly, looking at our window of earning opportunity, or what kind of questions to ask financial advisers, how to set up a business to reduce your liability in case things go wrong."

"Gibbs said: 'I'm not going to charge you anything. We're not recommending any investments. We don't want to ask you for anything. This is a gift.' "

The gift of having something to fall back on once the cheering stops, the gift of not making the same mistakes a young, impressionable man made in his first steps on the way to Canton because he didn't know how to protect his assets.

"I'd really like to talk to the league and the union about doing something like this leaguewide," he said. "Just makes sense."

As usual it's hard to argue with Coach Joe Jackson Gibbs.


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