BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles grabs his cell phone every morning during breakfast and looks over the latest transactions. No, not player transactions in the NFL, but his investments that he has made to help secure his future post-football. He checks his investments daily using a phone app and takes advantage of every opportunity to increase his savings and earnings.
Broyles was drafted in 2012, and after a meeting with a financial adviser, he took some simple advice that he used to shape his financial life:
Spend as you would like over the next few months. Figure out your means. Then set a budget, live within it and invest the rest.
Sounds simple enough, right?
For more than three years Broyles has immersed himself in the financial world determined not to be a one of the athletes that often make headlines about going broke after their playing careers are over.
Broyles signed a contract worth more than $3.6 million after being taken in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Lions out of Oklahoma University with the 54th pick. More than $1.422 million of his contract is guaranteed money, but it was what he learned at the rookie symposium that helped spark his determination to be financially sound.
The budget Broyles and his wife, Mary Beth, live on is $60,000 a year, “give or take,” throughout his career. The remainder of his money has gone into investments, retirement savings and solidifying his monetary future.
“Then you know how much you can invest, how risky you can be,” Broyles said, as he enters the last year of his rookie contract with no guarantee he’ll make the Lions roster. “Then, when I was hitting the same budget over three, four, five months, it was all right, this is what your budget is and I had some spending money.
“I didn’t hold myself back at all on those terms. That’s what I tell people when they want to start to invest, I tell them to live your life and see where you stand and then pull back. Don’t pull back without even knowing.”
Broyles has avoided many of the financial pitfalls athletes fall into, like buying expensive luxury automobiles. He and his wife drive Mazdas and he still has his 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer from college.
He won’t go into specifics about his investments, but they must be performing well because he just smiles. Broyles and his wife just bought their first home in Texas and had their first child, Sebastion, but he does not feel any more pressure to succeed on the gridiron with another mouth to feed.
“The pressure I put on myself is just being the best player I am,” Broyles said. “I would never play [just] for money, you know what I mean, that’s not my intentions whatsoever.
“Whatever comes, it’s just a blessing. But I got the mindset of a businessman off the field, I’ll tell you that.”
Broyles has also taken it upon himself to spread the word to kids about financial planning. In March, he and New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram, working with VISA and the NFL, went to Washington, DC and his home state of Oklahoma to promote a Financial Football video game to help teach financial security.
“I studied as much as I could,” Broyles said. “Talked to people wealthier than me, smarter than me. So that definitely helps.”