How To Prepare As A Free Agent
Becoming a free agent is already stressful enough, you have no idea what team you may play for and your sense of stability is gone. Whether it is the last year of your deal or you are negotiating with teams, you are not getting paid and you may be getting antsy. As a player this can be an uncertain time whether you are due for a pay increase or pay cut, that window while you are a free agent leaves you in a flux. It is very important that athletes take the necessary steps while they are in limbo to avoid any financial setbacks and stability. Of course once you get your new contract and settled, you can adjust but below is my list of immediate things you should do as you head into a contract year and into free agency…..
Build a Nest Egg
You don’t know how long the process may take. It’s important to have a nest egg or emergency fund for at least 3-6 months depending on your personal preference. At this particular time you are incurring expenses without any income so it’s important to map out all the expenses you will incur for the time being and creating a nest egg to pay for that while you get your career situated. This will help keep the stress at a minimum when you know your financial situation is handled at least for the foreseeable future you can use a clear head when negotiating your contract.
Protect yourself at all times. What happens if you are training and you get injured without the team and league covering your health insurance. You guessed it, you have to come out of pocket. Talk to your Player’s Union or your agent and figure out the best approach to get some basic coverage for you and your family until you sign. You should also consider getting disability insurance for the unfortunate circumstance you get injured and aren't able to work while you are recovering. This is a simple way to protect yourself through a time of uncertainty.
Create a budget
When you are in free agency you don’t have that structure you are so use to having. You aren’t getting paid and your schedule compared to previous years is different. Creating a budget is a simple way to keep some structure in your life while being prudent financially.