In Part Two of DeArrius Howard’s interview, he spends a great deal of time discussing the importance of a professional athlete’s need to say NO – NO to their families, NO to their friends, and NO to themselves. Many young athletes that come into newfound wealth are not prepared to say NO to those who have given them so much. However, veteran and retired athletes alike have long commented on the need to stay focused on long-term financial security and independence for everyone. “First, if they truly have your best interest at heart, they will understand.” Wise words, D! Read Part Two here!
Part two of a two-part interview:
In this segment, Howard discusses more on financial wisdom, cultivating one’s personal brand, saying “no” and meaning it, giving back to your loved ones without jeopardizing your future, life after sports, and so much more!
We left off with Howard sharing how to avoid common financial pitfalls-
TAN: “…What advice would you give a collegiate player that is transitioning to professional sports?”
DH: “You have so much going on, you need to have people to tell you “no”. For example, I trained with the number one draft pick the year I was drafted. We are talking about a young man of around 19 or 20-years-old. No one ever told him “no”. Not night club bouncers, no one. Everyone knew who he was and everyone was trying to get close to him. My advice would be, first get a financial advisor. Second, cultivate a relationship with your hometown Pastor or Chaplain. I don’t like to push religion on others, but it helps keep you grounded and level.
You become a kid in candy store overnight! You need a great financial advisor to tell you “no” and structure things, like living off 30 percent of your income. They should encourage and help you to invest the remaining income. Everyone around you needs something. Your Aunt might need a new car, your Mom needs a better house in a safer neighborhood. However, the goal should be to create long-term wealth and a sustainable lifestyle. NFL stands for: Not For Long. It seems the money will never end and others will be all to willing to help you spend it. Banks will extend you a line of credit based on your contract. The thing is, when you stop playing, you still owe for the balance of that credit line.
TAN: “Exactly! Those are money management lessons that everyone learns. For professional athletes, it happens on a grander scale with more money at stake and more people dependent on your income. So, let’s explore the “No” factor. How do you say “no” to the very people who have poured into your success early on without fear of severing those relationships?”
DH: “First, if they truly have your best interest at heart, they will understand. Until you get established, you shouldn’t be making large purchases. Focus on getting through the first year. Don’t spend all your liquid assets on buying Mom a house and buying yourself a house and a new car. If you buy one of these things, you would benefit from living in a nice apartment until you get through your first contract. You don’t need a Rolex, you don’t need an entourage of 20 people…”
TAN: “But they have never had money like this before. They want to share this journey with their friends. How do you tell a young person whose peers are all living this new lifestyle not to indulge?”
DH: “It’s tough. It hard to get them to listen sometimes. You’re right, they want to have what they see everyone else having but if you start having the conversation as early as possible, as young as the 7th grade, to help them form reasonable expectations. By senior year, they should be focused on two things: graduating and having a great season. Once they become a professional, enter a contract with their financial planner with long-term goals and low risk investments.
Show them that if they earned $1,000,000 annually and lived out of $300,000, that’s ample to live comfortably. As we know, it is rare to make that much money in other professions. Especially for someone with no other tangible job skills. Some athlete’s won’t complete their degree and haven’t spent time training in any other discipline. Even highly-educated and experienced professionals struggle to make $100,000.”
TAN: “So, how can you help friends and family financially in some way?”
DH: “By helping them get educated and gain work experience in whatever field they choose. I would help a friend interested in real estate go to school and start at a great firm. As their experience grew, I’d help them start their own business if they presented me with a sound business plan. Giving money or creating meaningless jobs with salaries for doing nothing, doesn’t help them gain financial independence.
TAN: “Share the importance of personal branding in the transition from being a professional athlete to the next chapter in your professional life.”
DH: “Personal branding and attitude are everything. The connections and relationships you make can literally make all the difference. How you handle adversity defines you. Someone is always watching and you have an opportunity to make a great impression daily. No one owes you anything in life. It is up to you to seize opportunities and put your best foot forward. I control my attitude and facial expressions. I always put myself in position to be a key player. I consider myself a Fortune 500 company as far as the decisions I make. One bad decision, your stock prices drop, people stop investing in you and relationships die. I have been said to have a smile that lights up a dark room, and I appreciate that compliment. I also try to be respectful to everyone around me.”
TAN: “Please share with our readers what you are currently doing and what he future holds for you.”
DH: “I am a Merchandise Support Manager at Walmart, Inc. This is part of the Supply Chain Service department. I manage all the departments for hard-line electronic entertainment for all 42 regional Distribution Centers. I manage merchandising for what you would know it as ‘Black Friday’ week. I also speak to youth regarding career choices. If I had known about the endless career opportunities as a child, I would have become an engineer. I try to mentor students as young as elementary by emphasizing education. I want them to know that there are countless ways to earn a great living and have a fulfilling life.”
We are so proud of De’Arrius and know this highly accomplished Executive will be successful at anything he attempts!
-By LaToya Baker of The Athlete’s NeXus