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Surprising bankruptcy stats for NFL players

NFL football stars seem to have it all: a multimillion-dollar income, physical health, fame and adoring fans across the nation. However, there is a dark side to the life of NFL players, who are often thrust into a world of excess cash and numerous temptations. The fact is, many NFL players lack the wherewithal to manage their finances effectively and many of them end up in bankruptcy court -- one out of every six to be exact.

Several studies have revealed that an extremely high percentage of professional football players end up in bankruptcy after they retire from the sport. Even more suffer in a constant state of financial turmoil. In 2009, an article from Sports Illustrated magazine revealed that 78 percent of ex-NFL players filed for bankruptcy or fell into financial distress as a result of divorce or unemployment.

A more recent study compiled by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) zeroed in on players who have gone into bankruptcy. The study looked at NFL players drafted from 1997 through 2003. The researchers discovered that player bankruptcy stats spiked fairly quickly after they had retired from the NFL and the bankruptcy rates stayed high through the players' first 12 years of post-NFL life.

Of the players reviewed, 16 percent of them had gone into bankruptcy inside the first 12 years after their NFL careers. Interestingly, the bankruptcies did not show any correlation with the level of the players' incomes, nor did they show correlation with the amount of time they played for the NFL.

The fact is, no matter how rich we think we are, our incomes will always have their limits and if life circumstances, or difficulties in managing our finances, cause us to exceed our personal financial limitations, debt and the potential for bankruptcy may follow. It does not matter if you are a lottery winner, a blue collar worker, or a professional athlete -- we can all find ourselves in difficult financial times. If you or your loved one are currently in a hole of debt that there is no way to get out of, bankruptcy could be the right solution.

Source: CBS News, "1 in 6 NFL Players Go Bankrupt," Aug. 13, 2015

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