By Chris Taylor
NEW YORK, Jan 18 (Reuters) – If your child attends a public school in Portland, Dallas, Los Angeles or Oakland and will be taking a personal finance workshop in the coming months, ask if they saw one of the founders. From the program.
If you’re 6-foot-4, over 300 pounds, and look like a defensive tackle in the National Football League, that’s because you are.
That would be Ndamukong Suh, 36, a football star who strikes fear into the hearts of opposing teams. As much as Suh enjoys sacking quarterbacks and tackling running backs (his Philadelphia Eagles are in a playoff bid with hopes of making it to the Super Bowl), there’s something else he enjoys just as much: teaching kids. on financial education.
“They need to understand how to take care of their finances,” said Suh, whose Suh Family Foundation, with his wife Katya, is partnering with Intuit Inc to bring personal finance curriculum to schools across the United States. “Especially in underserved communities, this can be a difficult conversation to have, so I want to shed some light on it.”
Some NFL players and other high-paid professional athletes have money problems after their playing careers end. In fact, when young players suddenly win millions of dollars, without much financial education, in the midst of high-spending lifestyles, with agents, managers and entourages taking a cut, the money can disappear much faster than usual. what one would think
By contrast, Suh, 36, has been planning his life after football for years. His knowledge of money dates back to his childhood in Portland, Oregon, and to his parents: his mother was a teacher, his father was an engineer. When he was growing up, he would go to jobsites with his dad, doing odd jobs like sweeping and cleaning, while his mom would give him $10 or $20 to mow the neighborhood lawn.
In fact, it was his mother who first introduced him to the importance of credit scores, by adding him as an authorized user to one of her cards, so she could build her own record.
“When you get to the NFL, one of the first things they do is help you manage your credit, and my score was almost 800,” an exceptional credit score, Suh said. “All of that was thanks to the lessons my mom gave me.”
It’s a long way from those early starts to his current line of work, where his biggest contract averaged more than $19 million a year, according to sports finance site Spotrac.
But Suh fell into a typical money trap early in his career, spending more than he should.
“Most athletes make the mistake of looking around the locker room and comparing themselves to other guys,” Suh said. “You see veterans with their Mercedes and you end up living beyond your means. Personally, I made the mistake of going to nightclubs and spending $25,000 to $50,000 instead of taking that money and investing it.”
After those missteps, he became more thoughtful about building wealth for his family and, knowing that in the NFL, “his career could end at any moment,” he has worked diligently on building his own empire.
That has included starting his own real estate development company, with multiple projects completed and more underway. He also runs an investment portfolio under his House of Spears Management, owns several restaurants, and is a fan of private equity, including working with famed venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz.
His business decisions and charitable work, from awarding scholarships at the University of Nebraska, his alma mater, to helping domestic violence victims in Tampa, are carried out with the help of his wife.
“I would say that she is more risk averse than I am,” Suh said with a smile. “She pulls Me back on some investments and she’s like, ‘Hey, maybe we should wait and see.'”
Their financial education curriculum for kids includes touching on all the basics: spending, saving, taxes, budgeting, and investing. She is hopeful that beyond the current target cities, the Money Smarts with Intuit initiative will go global.
Suh’s top tip for kids?
“Keep it simple: spend only what you need and save the rest,” he said. “Learn how to create and grow generational wealth, which is what I’m trying to do for my twin babies. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek mentorship. As my mom always taught me, ‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and there are no stupid questions.'” (Editing by Lauren Young and Will Dunham Follow us on @ReutersMoney)