Finding Good Examples For Your Child: Ryan Broyles

It can be difficult to find positive money role models for your children. After all, we live in a culture that pushes consumerism. Whether it’s billboards or TV ads or Justin Bieber’s latest Ferrari, it’s hard to escape the messaging that more stuff is better.

Healthy financial practices might not be something that your child’s favorite pop culture icon models well either. From rock stars to football players to Kardashians, not many celebrities display the kind of financial wherewithal that you want to foster in your child.

That’s why, several weeks back, I was heartened to read a story about NFL player Ryan Broyles. Broyles is currently a free agent but played three seasons as a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.

In his three seasons with the Lions, Broyles made just over $2 million. $1.15 million of that was his signing bonus. It’d be easy for most people – especially young men entering the world of professional football – to feel like they now had complete financial freedom. Time to blow that million-dollar bonus on fancy cars, diamond jewelry, and lots of expensive meals.

Broyles, however, knew that would be shortsighted. He’d suffered ligament issues in college and knew those injuries could come back to haunt him. So he put together a restrictive budget (given the salary he was making) and has stuck to it: he operates as if his take-home pay is just $60,000 a year.

That $60,000 is carefully budgeted in a 50% (fixed expenses) – 30% (variable expenses) – 20% (savings) system. Broyles read several personal finance books and worked out how much he should be spending on a mortgage, etc., and made that the foundation for his plan.

He and his wife built their own home in Dallas, but are constantly looking for places to save. For example, every time he’s moved he hires a truck and packs himself rather than hiring movers and incurring additional expenses. He only eats out once a week. They don’t have cable TV.

This might sound punitive, given his income, but Broyles and his wife don’t think so. They live in financial stability and still find ways to enjoy their money. He and his wife prioritize traveling over things like luxury cars (an interesting point about valuing experiences over stuff).

My favorite part of the interview is when Broyles starts giving the Marketwatch journalist advice about owning versus renting after being shocked how much the host was paying in rent for his NYC apartment. The great thing about financially-empowered people is that they’re able to share their financial knowledge, even with financial journalists.

So, the next time your kid is impressed by their favorite football player’s blacked out Range Rover or fancy sneakers, throw in a little lesson about Ryan Broyles and the smart way to handle a pro-athlete’s salary.

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