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Money Players: A Guide to Succeed in Sports, Business & Life for Current and Future Pro Athletes Perfect Paperback – November 4, 2007
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About the Author
Marc Isenberg is a nationally known writer and author on the business of sports. He earned his undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta, where he played on the men's basketball team, and his MBA from The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. Marc is the co-author of The Student-Athlete Survival Guide (McGraw Hill 2001) and The Truth about Gambling (A-Game 2003). He has been a guest on ESPN's Outside the Lines, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, The NCAA News and Chicago Sun-Times. He works as a business and financial adviser in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife, Debbie Spander.
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As a licensed wealth manager I was particularly interested in the section entitled Money Matters comprising 4 chapters. The author bio states that the author has an MBA and is a financial consultant. With that sort of training I expected much, much more from this book. Again, the section on money was extremely simplistic and lacked actionability. In some cases, I feel the advice is just plain wrong. Certainly different money managers have different opinions. There were too many sweeping generalizations in this section that have some semblance of truth but are factually wrong and would never be practical to implement.
One of the biggest omissions, in my opinion, of the Money Matters section is the lack of advice to seek competent, professional help. Everyone should have a basic understanding of "money matters". In this regard, the book is helpful. Almost everyone, and especially current and future pro athletes, should seek competent, financial advisors that are experts in their respective fields. The author does not stress this. In fact, the author seems to be encouraging the reader to go it alone now that they have read his book. Anyone that relies solely on this book to make financial decisions is setting themselves up for failure. The financial world is too complex to believe that good financial decisions can be made simply from the info in this book.
I enjoyed the other chapters as an introduction to the world of professional athletics. However, each chapter left me wanting more -- I didn't want just a simple intro; I wanted more detail. The subtitle is, "A Guide to Success in Sports, Business & Life for Current and Future Pro Athletes". That is absolutely false! A better subtitle would be, "An Introduction to the World of Professional Athletics". There is just not enough detail in the book for anyone to be successful in pro sports.
Buy this book if you want an overview of the business of pro athletics. Don't buy this book if you are looking for actionable advice.
Isenberg covers the basics --he properly emphasizes the two bedrock notions of utilizing compound interest, and choosing an agent not just wisely, but skeptically - but it's also worthy to repeat here some elements of his more detailed "Short simple guide to financial success":
"1) Pay off all credit card debt; 2) Fund your 401(k) and other available retirement accounts to the max; 3) Include all financial help to friends and family contributions charity in your `rule of 10' budget; 4) Hire good confident ethical business advisors; 5) Do not give anyone full power of attorney; 6) Buy the insurance you need; and 7) Do not invest money you cannot afford to lose in night clubs, restaurants, and other risky propositions."
Perhaps the most important advice rendered by Isenberg has to do with selecting the right agent, noting "The keywords here are you select the agent, rather than having the agents like you through becoming your friend and giving you gifts." Isenberg recommends that the player designate an intermediary (including, possibly, his college's professional sports counseling panel) to help screen and finally select an agent. (I heard an interview several years ago in which one former pro athlete gave substantially similar advice: "Pick a Nerd.") Needless to say, a college campus should be an excellent place for an athlete to obtain intelligent, objective advice.
There's a broader, more serious point here, highlighted by the recent revelations at UNC about the "phony" courses apparently utilized by a large number of UNC basketball and football players: conscientious athletic directors should insure that every college athlete takes one course on the basics of Financial Planning - and `Money Players' should be a part of any such course.