In a series of Twitter posts that are getting a lot of attention over the past 24 hours, former NHL star defenseman Chris Pronger went on what is being seen by some as a rant and others as an informational message of understanding that many pro athletes are struggling in retirement. Noting their financial issues are real and suggesting the system that made them rich has played a large role in why they’re struggling now, it seems like Pronger is trying to speak up and make more people aware that the life of a pro athlete isn’t always glamorous.
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Below are the tweets:
He started by saying, “I played 20 years in the NHL. I was one of the highest-earning NHL players of all time. And friends with many other pro athletes. My guess is more than 50% of pro athletes have financial issues in retirement.” He added that there are three main problems he sees as to why: athletes tend to be wasteful early and think the money will last forever, that people take advantage of athletes and that athletes have an entourage.
Pronger argued that these young athletes don’t know how to handle the money they are given early and didn’t have mentors to help. These days, it’s even worse as the average salary for an NHL player is around $2 million per season. He added, “On a $2m/year salary, there is anywhere from 39%-56% in taxes give or take. But there’s also agents fees (3-5%), escrow and much more.” He noted that athletes can have as much as $20K per month in expenses (trainers and housing near the facility) and an average NHL career is four seasons, leaving these players with $2-$3 million in savings when they’re done.
Pronger added that by then, the bad spending habits are formed and athletes have spent obscene amounts of money on pointless things. He used the story of someone who spent $1M in a strip club! He noted, “I know a guy who had a $2M signing bonus. He immediately bought $400k in cars, dropped $1.5m on a home for his mom. But didn’t realize he owed taxes on it! knock knock it’s the IRS.”
Understanding that it’s easy for athletes to spend too much, he added that these same athletes need to have their guard up because so many people are out to take advantage of their ignorance. He said athletes are overcharged by financial advisors, lawyers, and they become a mark for so many people ready to cheat them out of their money. He talked about warning signs like someone coming to an athlete with an investment opportunity that requires big money but closes in three days. He also noted another example where athletes are convinced to give power of attorney to advisors, which means they do not control their money. Pronger noted, “the sad part is that shady professionals are far more common than most think. And it’s a common trap many fall into not just athletes.”
Finally, Pronger talked about the need for many athletes to take care of friends and family from back home. The “if one of us makes it, we all make it.” attitude is a real problem and undeserving friends ready to accept handouts or give bad advice are always around. He writes, “Instead, we need to be vigilant about saying NO, which is always tough.”
Pronger then said he would have more stories coming and would share them on Twitter so people should follow him if they wanted to see and hear more.
Something To Think About
Athletes get a bum rep sometimes for having all this money and wasting it. Others argue it’s incredibly unfair that these players are paid so much to play a game. The issue may not be either of those things, but that young athletes with no training on how to properly handle this kind of money make dangerous financial mistakes as they learn. Should we really be surprised when Pronger points out such obvious issues that most of us don’t think about?
There are vultures ready to take what they can and the request for handouts are endless. It’s the rare athlete that knows what to do with that much money when it comes from out of nowhere.
Does that mean we should feel sorry for these athletes? No, and I don’t think Pronger was asking anyone to. He might be suggesting that it’s a lot harder to handle this kind of wealth than people realize.
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MICHAEL C ZACK
April 5, 2022 at 8:14 am
How about a fund to take care of those who came before? Todays modern athletes are making 2 mil per season due to the work put in by the old timers who did not make 200k in a career !.
The union should have spreaheaded an assessment for each player: 2-3 % for a beneovolent fund.
Helping modern athletes.,, well that’s what parents are for: Just ask Jack johnson.
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