Kofi Sarkodie: What I Wish I Knew Before Going Pro

By Kofi Sarkodie  \\\  MLS Veteran Defender

1.) 401 K

What the hell is a 401K, and what's the difference between a 401K, IRA and Roth in layman's terms? These were terms and concepts that I had no idea about before I went pro or received my first paycheck. I still don’t know everything I need to know. But I will say that I’ve done plenty of homework and due diligence to know the basics and not feel out of place when my financial advisor is discussing decisions to consider regarding my finances. I wish I had a decent understanding before I entered the league.

2.) Hidden Expenses

How hidden expenses add up, especially in big cities. I lived in Houston and San Jose, I was completely shocked with the vast difference in living in these two cities. The way I budgeted in Houston had to completely get readjusted once I moved to San Jose. Simple things, like parking, is surprisingly way more expensive in San Jose than Houston. Knowing the value of your buck depending on location would have been beneficial.  Living in Texas I would be able to get a good size house for what I'm currently paying in San Jose. Little things, such as no state income tax in Texas, is a tidbit you don't fully appreciate until you move to states with different expenses. 

3.) Net Income and Different Taxes

How different taxes (Federal, State, Medicare. Social Security) eat up the paycheck. There’s what you gross and what you take home after taxes. I learned that because I’m getting this amount doesn’t mean I’m making this much. Net income is something I wish I had known from the beginning; it would have helped me with understanding my complete financial holdings.

4.) Jock Tax

How athletes have a special tax, Jock Tax... that's cool I guess. No, actually there is nothing cool about getting taxed for playing away games. It does make you feel special though, until you have to file your W-2 forms for each state you played in.

5.) Dining Out Adds Up

How expensive eating out is .... you will be surprised.  You think you are saving time and money, but in reality you are not. Especially, if you want to eat healthy, food tends to be on the higher end. The Whole Foods hot bar, for instance, ends up costing over 20 dollars if you want to get a full meal. I wish I knew the concept of cooking my own meal and making a bunch of leftovers early on in my career. I recently bought a George Foreman grill and Crockpot, and haven't looked back since!

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Kofi Sarkodie

is an MLS Veteran with over 120 starts in all competitions. Along with completing his degree in Biology with honors from the University of Akron he also runs a yearly soccer camp, NinetyPlusSoccer.com, for kids in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Kofi is the recipient of the inaugural ESPN Sports Science award for "Outstanding Reaction" in 2014 for his stellar play in defense.