There are a lot of things that can be improved in the sports culture to provide more guidance for athletes. Despite the informational and personnel resources available at the collegiate and professional level, no program is more productive than all athletes holding themselves accountable for their own success. Tre’ Stallings, former Ole Miss Rebel and Kansas City Chief, always said that his past would not dictate his future. With the help of a great mentor, Stallings realized early on that he could hold no one more responsible for his education and success than himself. We are grateful he chose to share his experience and thoughts on financial education, mentorship, and taking initiative with our readers. Click the link below to read more of his wise words!
In life and in sports, preparation is the key to success. Without preparation, many people are left to suffer dire consequences from the trial and error of the growth process. For example, how can an 18-year-old suddenly be expected to manage millions of dollars? Even a 28-year-old, equipped with a Master’s degree in finance, would be challenged by income of that magnitude. The truth is most young people are ill-prepared to balance a checkbook let alone navigate a line of credit or a 30-year mortgage. Since most young athletes typically come from lower-income households and have not received proper instruction on financial discipline and financial responsibility, they run a greater risk of suffering from poor decisions. Although the digital age is making access to that information easier than ever to receive, one question remains: Are athletes holding themselves accountable for their financial education or waiting on someone to do it for them?
The Athlete’s NeXus knows that Tre’ Stallings, former Tennessee Titan, is the perfect person to give young athletes advice on how to break the cycle and learn how to manage their finances for the rest of their lives. Stallings was wise enough to navigate the road to financial security and generous enough to share the lessons he learned…
TAN: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. You are a great resource for our readers regarding financial prudence and making a lump sum last. What would you like to share?”
TS: “One of the things that I have learned was to study money. We go to school to get an education in a particular subject or major in a certain area, but we as athletes don’t spend time learning the nuances of how money works. Often, we are in an environment where we’re told what to do, where to go, and we allow other people to give us direction. That happens in college period, because you are young and you are trying to absorb as much as you can. But it’s important to take some time on your own to learn about budgeting. How do I develop one? How do I stick with it? How do I plan for success in the future? If you can educate yourself on money and how it works, you will be better suited to face financial challenges later in life.”
TAN: “If you don’t mind sharing, what prepared you personally to be so financially savvy? Did you have a mentor, take a finance course, or did you have someone in your life that was financially astute or had lots of business acumen?
TS: “I had a great mentor. A former teammate and a still close friend showed me the ropes. When I got to the NFL, he was on staff with the Kansas City Chiefs and pulled me to the side and told me to learn as much as I can about money. He put me in touch with several different people that had been there and done that. I learned as much as I could. I was able to manage myself instead of having someone manage me.”
TAN: “Let’s delve into that a little more. What advice along that vein would you give? Real-life advice.”
TS: “It goes back to, “What are the basics of money?” That’s what helped me. I came from a lower socio-economic household. I didn’t know how a checking account worked or a saving account. I didn’t know any of those basic things, because they weren’t taught to me. How was I going to function? It was important to me to learn how to I purchase a home or car. How does the lending process work? As an athlete, you are accustomed to allowing others to tell us what is going on versus relying on ourselves to learn information. We learn our sport; it dominates our life and we don’t learn anything else. If people would take the same approach as they do with football or whatever their sport is and learn about how to manage their finances, they would appreciate its power. Football is just a vehicle to where you want to go. The money is the thing that is going to last. Once you understand investments and planning for the future, your money will work for you and afford you the life you want.”
TAN: “You have a stellar reputation on and off the field. You obviously understand the importance of personal branding. What’s your secret?”
TS: “More than anything, I believe in building genuine relationships. I truly care about the success of others. Often we meet people and feel like we know them and they have something they can offer us. We rarely think about what we can give to others. I believe in the power of building mutually beneficial relationships.”
TAN: “What would you tell your 18-year-old self?”
TS: “Not to take anything for granted and do everything to the best of your ability regardless of what it is. I sometimes didn’t learn as much as I could. Especially, in my first year as a professional player, I feel like there were some missed opportunities. I wish I had learned more about the culture. We tend to slack off when we’re younger. We don’t see the value of giving full effort in everything. I know that if I had paid more attention to certain details or tried harder in certain areas, my life would be a little different than it is now.”
TAN: What would you like the share with our readers about what you’re currently doing?”
TS: Right now, I’m about impacting and influencing the lives of others. Whether I’m encouraging, whether I’m assisting, and making others smile. Whether it be student athletes, co-workers, friends, family. I have a passion for intercollegiate athletics! I enjoy serving in a leadership capacity and giving back. That’s what my life is about right now.
Everyone should have a Tre’ Stallings in their life! Thank you for touching lives!
-by LaToya Baker of The Athlete’s NeXus