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Are pro athletes more susceptible to financial distress?

Several stories have made the news in recent months involving bankruptcy petitions and professional athletes. This blog has covered a number of stories that address the unique assets that some retired athletes acquired during their playing careers, including championship rings and other sports merchandise that can command high prices on the market that exceed bankruptcy exemptions.

Many Ohio residents can be concerned about what property may be subject to the bankruptcy estate when facing financial distress. However, it is important to discuss individual assets with a seasoned debt relief lawyer, as many assets may be covered by a legal exemption, and in other cases chapter 13 may be a viable option to protect property, depending upon the individual circumstances of a person's financial status.

With the recent stories involving pro athletes and former athletes seeking bankruptcy relief, and others who have faced wage garnishment and bank account seizures, it appears that the recent stories among athletes may not be so isolated as one might think.

USA Today recently looked into the issue of pro athletes and apparent financial woes that can befall the pros after retirement. One source in the story estimated in 2009 that a whopping 78 percent of NFL players are in financial dire straits within two years of retirement, and 60 percent of NBA players go broke within five years of retiring from the professional court.

Many pro athletes sign huge contracts at a young age, but the profession generally has a short time frame for an average professional career. The NFL Players Association, for example, estimates that the average football career is a short four years. Add in the potential for bad investments and public lifestyles at such a young age and the financial woes are not necessarily so surprising.

Many say that most people who seek bankruptcy protection do so because of significant changes that can unexpectedly occur. Few economists predicted the recent economic meltdown, and any who may have were lost in the cacophony of information in better times.

Medical issues, a loss of work and foreclosure can be some of the types of events that act as a tipping point for many American consumers who have worked hard to maintain a household budget. It is important to consider many options when financial stress hits an individual, and an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help a debtor to learn how the legally authorized bankruptcy process can help in providing financially distressed Ohioans with a fresh start.

Source: USA Today, "Pro athletes often fumble the financial ball," Russ Wiles, Apr. 22, 2012

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