- Amobi Okugo is a recently retired soccer player and founder of the personal finance platform A Frugal Athlete.
- He said there are some “beginner mistakes” that many professional athletes make with their money.
- Lifestyle creep, not asking enough questions and trying to keep up with big players can hurt you.
Amobi Okugo is a retired professional football player who founded a personal finance platform aimed at professional athletes: a frugal athlete.
Now that his football career is over, Okugo wants to shift his focus to helping professional athletes make the best and most informed decisions with their money so that they can use their resources to prepare for their later life and career.
Okugo said he sees professional athletes make three “beginner’s mistakes” all the time.
1. Succumb to Lifestyle Flu
The first common mistake Okugo sees other professional athletes make with their money is lifestyle flu, which is when they start spending a lot more the more they earn.
Okugo said that when you are a young professional athlete, “you make a lot of money and your income and expenses are disproportionate. When you make a lot of money, you feel like you have the luxury of spending a lot of money.”
A smart thing to do with your money instead, he continued, is to use it as an opportunity to build wealth. Because most athletes have to retire
oung, he said it’s important to focus on what your second career will be, and to use your athletic earnings to your advantage.
“While you have this capital – this edge – what are some things you can do both financially and career-wise to get you started and ease that transition?” said Okugo. “Because you can only be a pro for so long, but you’ll always be ‘a pro’ in life. So what are the things you’re going to do?”
2. Being hands-off with your money
The second mistake many professional athletes make, according to Okugo, is letting others manage their finances without much oversight.
Okugo said he believes this lack of commitment to their own finances is due to a “lack of curiosity”, adding that the first step to addressing this is to ask more questions of those who manage your money. . That said, Okugo is currently seeing a promising shift.
“We’ve seen a lot more athletes being more proactive and taking more responsibility for their finances,” he said, “and leagues and organizations are doing a lot of work to guide and educate athletes about some of the financial decisions they make.”
3. Bite off more than you can chew on deals
Okugo said one thing that hurts many athletes’ pockets is “biting off more than they can chew,” in terms of opportunities and deals available to major players in professional sports.
“There’s a chance that certain people will come across their sign,” Okugo said. “Kevin Durant invests in over a hundred deals – that may not be what I can do. I can invest in maybe five deals.”
However, he said he understands where the temptation comes from.
“I’m an athlete and I’m an entrepreneur,” said Okugo. “I see the big players doing this and I want to do that, but everyone has their own level and hopefully you can get to that level as you continue to grow and learn more.”