How Rob Gronkowski’s Financial Discipline Set Him Up For Life, And How You Can Do The Same
Written by Dr. Larry
I recently read an article about how Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots Tight End, one of the best in the game, recently retired at age 30, and is financially setup for life because of how he played his monetary cards. So smart.
I would imagine (pure dreaming, as my 5 foot nothin 100 and nothing white man frame is not professional athletic grade in any sport) that there is a societal expectation or archetype that tempted him to present a certain kind of image–buy a fast sports car, wear expensive designer clothes and jewelry, live a lavish yacht party lifestyle, right? Like the Rock show Ballers.
But he said no. Apparently he never spent a dime of his over $53,000,000 (NFL earnings, according to spotrac.com, excluding endorsements), and he only lived off of his endorsements, which is not publicly known. Some put it in the millions, but far less than his other income. Now he’s certainly not living poor on millions, but that’s precisely the point–he could be blowing tens of millions of dollars on whatever he wanted.
But he didn’t, and now at 30, he’s set for life. Not only to not worry about having to work again, but in the freedom to do whatever he wants, travel, and put his money behind projects that he believes are meaningful.
Some principles I want to emphasize here for those of us NOT on baller NFL salaries, but none the less apply just the same.
- LIVE UNDER YOUR MEANS. This is #1, the ability to spend less than you make. I’m not even talking about saving or investing, both great ideas, but those are not possible without being in the black. This is just old school financial discipline, knowing how much comes in and how much goes out, and staying out of the red and piling up credit card debt. For all of us, like Gronk, this involves saying no to the consumer culture that says we should have the newest nicest clothes, sports cars, tvs, vacations, etc on and on. The buy message, without any restraint. Must learn to say no.
- THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR. Great book, I highly recommend it. Many ideas related to our discussion here. The main idea is–who do you think is the millionaire? The guy rolling in the lambo with the designer suit? Or the old guy next door who lives in the same house for 30 years, wears Levis and drives a Chevey. The truth–it’s the guy that doesn’t look like it. Those folks who live a modest lifestyle are more often the ones with a big net worth, versus those who burn through cash and look glamorous, rich and famous–very often, they are completely broke. Be the modest millionaire, not the broke douche.
- SAVE AND INVEST. This is where financial discipline gets exciting. Once you get a good chunk of money saved, let’s say $100,000 or $1,000,000 invested–on those years when the stock market is really up 20-30%, you do the math. You can gain a whole years salary without working. Boom. It pays to invest over the long haul.
- THEN LIVE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS. While it is often hard to delay the gratification of immediate nice things, once you get in that habit and you save money and even start to invest it, you have so many more options for how to live and what to do, projects to fund. A good buddy of mine from high school put money into a 401K retirement account for over a decade, then woke up and had nearly $500,000 in it. He was able to use that to open a karaoke bar, which has become very fun, successful and an additional source of income. Well done. What dream would you fund with $500,000?
I’m scratching the surface here, and I want to talk more about money and get more into it–but I want to come back to the key issue here. Setting aside anyone else’s expectation of who you should be or how you should live, like Gronk did. He said no to the extravagant high profile athlete lifestyle, and made some excellent decisions that now he will enjoy for the rest of his life–however he wants. Maybe not on the same scale, but I do believe we can do the same.
Gentleman, let’s do it.