The NFL and IOU: 10 Debt Lessons You Can Learn from Football Player

I played the nation's most popular sport, and I did it very well for a little while. But then it was over because NFL careers average just over three years. I beat that limit, but I couldn't beat time. Time has an undefeated record. 

For my second career, I chose a profession I already had some experience with –  personal finance. Throughout the '90s, I saw young men sign contracts for millions of dollars – and for many, those millions evaporated shortly after their careers ended. 

My years in the NFL taught me almost as much about staying out of debt as my subsequent career as president of So let's kick off 10 Debt Lessons You Can Learn from Football Players. 

Money will get you out of debt, but it won't keep you out of debt. I saw that up close for years. Give someone $1 million and don't teach them how to budget, save, and invest – and I promise you they'll be down to their last dollar before they retire. 

Brains Beat Buck

For the past four years, has polled Americans about budgeting. Typically, about 6 in 10 adults keep a monthly household budget of income and expenses. During the pandemic, that jumped to nearly 80 percent. But, it should be 100 percent. 

Budgeting is Your Game Plan

Those who don't budget often tell me they don't have the time. They must be very busy people because keeping a budget these days takes only a few minutes a day. You don't use a pencil and paper. You use your phone or computer. 

Shorten the Field with Technology

Whenever I tell people they need an emergency fund that can pay their bills for at least three months, they laugh and reply, “Every week, there's an emergency in my life!” That might seem true, but five tragedies can really sack your finances.

Prepare for the Trick Plays of Life