Planning Ahead with Michael Haddix Jr
Q: You come from a sports family with your dad and uncle both playing in the NFL, can you talk about how your upbringing played a role in the way you manage your money?
A: My family dynamic has helped me to understand the uniqueness of athletes as well as their families as it pertains to finances. Many athletes have had mentors, coaches, family members and friends who have helped them achieve their level of success. Often times, “it truly does take a village.” The balance of providing support to those around you, without compromising your long term financial future is an important aspect that is often overlooked and undervalued. I believe that helping your family and support system is of the utmost importance, but it needs to be appropriately managed and prioritized in accordance to YOUR financial plan, and without sacrificing YOUR financial future. That has shaped the way that I manage finances in that each one of my clients is more than just a client; people are more than athletes, they can create opportunities with the potential to impact not only those around them but entire communities.
Additionally, I believe that the career span of the athlete needs to be kept in mind on a daily basis. As an athlete, self-confidence is one of your most important skills. Failure is not an option, and setbacks can be overcome. However, as a financial advisor, I need to find the delicate balance between the possibility of unlimited success and the possibility of a final paycheck. The stability of each client’s financial future depends on that balance.
Q: What are the biggest takeaways you have learned from a financial literacy aspect when it comes to athletes?
A: The biggest takeaway that I have learned is to never assume anything. People have different levels of understanding when it comes to finances. It is important to enter into every situation without bias. As a former athlete, it used to upset me when people assumed that I didn’t know something, or that I was not interested in learning. As a result, I choose to be an active resource and for each of my clients and their varying needs. These needs can range from advice on credit scores to bitcoin and everything in between.
Q: Can you talk about your current job and how you help athletes manage their money?
A: I am a financial advisor at OFS Wealth, which is an independent RIA with offices nationwide. Our relationship with the client begins early in their career, sometimes before they are drafted. As a team, we specialize in developing a complete financial plan as well as building out an investment portfolio. Additionally, we have dedicated internal CPAs who focus specifically on the intricacies of taxes for professional athletes. Depending on the clients’ needs, we can help them to manage league benefits, move to a new city, acquire a car, an apartment, manage expenses, and help them to get a credit card and bank account. As they progress through their career, we keep them aligned with post -career goals as well as any social programs they may want to pursue. Our commitment is to be an advocate for each client.
Q: As a player yourself and your personal experiences growing up what advice would you have for a professional athlete today?
A: My greatest piece of advice would be to get your financial plan in place early. It is extremely important to get a financial strategy implemented that will be beneficial to the client regardless of how long their career is. It is less about how much you make, versus how much you save. There are numerous stories of athletes who have made a fortune and who have lost it all. There are just as many athletes who have made less money, but have been smart with their finances and have remained wealthy. It’s about getting started early and with a sound plan.
My second piece of advice would be to hold your team accountable. Check your statements and have someone else look over them as well. Athletes are measured on performance every day and they should do the same with those who work for them.
Q: What are some common mistakes you think athletes are prone to making with their money and how can they avoid those problems?
A: First and foremost, assemble a team of people who share your vision, values and goals. It is critical to have people working with you who are experts in their field, but be diligent in asking questions and making your own decisions. It is important to listen to advice and guidance from mentors and friends, but ultimately it should be your decision.
Secondly, the realization that even though you are in the financial position to invest in something, does not mean that it is the right opportunity. Allocating money to a situation is only one step in the process of getting a return. Diligence, having a thorough understanding of the situation, and working with a team that understands your values, vision and plan is important.
Q: Any books or information you would recommend for someone looking to become more prudent financially or financial literate for their own financial playbook?
Here are some valuable resources that I think people should utilize if they want to become invested in their financial future. One book that I recommend is The Investment Answer by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray. It is thoughtfully written and provides some significant lessons. Most importantly, schedule a meeting with your advisor to walk you through your contract or statement. Ensure that you have a thorough understanding of every line item. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. If you hear a phrase or see a news piece, ask questions, do not be afraid to learn. Finally, use your resources. Most leagues have programs in place to help you understand your finances as well as hiring the right financial team. These programs are available to you even after you’ve retired. Don’t be afraid to use them. The secret to being financially successful is knowing the right steps to take and how to take them.
Michael Haddix Jr.
was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in New Jersey. He came from a family that valued athletics, as his father Michael Haddix Sr, was a running back for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers for 9 years. Michael Haddix Jr. played division 1 basketball at Siena College. Michael went on to receive his MBA with a focus in finance from Columbia Business School. After graduating, he worked for years on Wall Street as an investment banker and financial advisor, most recently for Goldman Sachs. Michael is currently a financial advisor for professional athletes at Octagon Financial Services (OFS Wealth). Additionally, he works directly with the NFL and various college teams promoting the importance of financial education and literacy.