Chris Pronger spent 20 years in the NHL and became a measuring stick for other defensemen. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2000, the first defenseman since Bobby Orr nearly three decades earlier. He was big, skilled and not a pushover either, racking up more than 1,600 penalty minutes.
After a few years in the front office job, the Hall of Famer took to Twitter in April and decided to throw his weight. However, this time he went after the bad financial habits of athletes and those who take advantage of his newfound wealth and naivete.
Pronger dumped a lot of knowledge and advice into the 18 tweet thread. Here are some of the key points:
‘Income doesn’t last as long as one might think’
Pronger was selected second overall in the 1993 NHL Draft by the Hartford Whalers. In the thread, he mentioned that his rookie contract was worth $300,000, with a $1 million signing bonus. For any 18-year-old, that’s a lot of money.
He mentioned the impulse to make life-changing purchases when the first contract is signed. There’s the big house for the parents, groomed ride, maybe a fancy watch. While NBA players generally get the most attention for these big buys, many of whom see this as a way out of poverty for their families, it can happen to athletes in all leagues and at all wealth levels. .
Pronger rattled off a list of expenses NHL players incur during the season, from lodging to support staff. All of this comes after taxes, which can swallow more than half of the salary. Pronger played for five different franchises, so he knows that playing in different cities means different tax bills.
He warned that the lifestyle of spending lavishly is not sustainable. While he credits mentors and a good support system for getting off to a good start in financial health, she acknowledged that not everyone has that. Most NHL players are drafted from the juniors, meaning they’ve likely lived away from home for years in smaller cities, where opportunities to develop good spending habits or positive influences may not be available. Most players only stay in the top leagues for a few years, so their earning power is short.
‘You are a brand’
While Pronger began with a stick bunt at players to try to steer them out of trouble, he then launched a two-handed cross-check to the chest of those looking to take advantage of the players.
He accused financial advisors, lawyers and other professionals of having “two sets of documents” and said they often “charge us more than the average person.” He believes that the youth and wealth of professional athletes make them the target of those looking to make extra money with celebrity clients who must have some interest in investing their millions.
Pronger admitted to being a victim of those looking for a big investment for a deal that was supposedly only available for a few days. She acknowledged that this often means that the proposing parties have been unable to obtain financing from other investors who have more time and experience in scrutinizing these deals.
“After a few mistakes, my rule is: if someone needs an answer right now, the answer is always NO. They learn this lesson very quickly.”
In the thread, Pronger mentioned Aroldis Chapman, who lost millions after giving power of attorney to a financial adviser. He didn’t mention Jack Johnson, the NHL veteran who filed for bankruptcy after his family lost millions of his money due to bad investments.
take care of friends
Pronger concluded by warning about the emotional ties players have with friends or family members who want to get a taste of the action. Unfortunately, not everyone is satisfied with free game tickets.
Chris’s brother Sean also played in the NHL and did not build an entourage of his own. However, many professional athletes want to help their friends and repay their years of loyalty and support. That can mean investing in businesses, shopping for gifts, and great nights out. Most big-name stars feel compelled to create a “circle of trust” to use as a barrier to those attracted by their fame and fortune.
Not everyone can afford to hire every kid in their neighborhood or youth teams to work for them when they become big stars. Pronger acknowledges that “it can be difficult for many to let go of friends from home.”
While he built a career on the ice, Pronger’s guidance would be welcomed by all athletes. Spring is draft season for the four major North American leagues. College athletes can now earn fortunes through NIL deals too. It might be worth inviting the old vet to follow you on Twitter for some free advice.
President and Co-Founder, RL Brown Wealth Management and Athlete Essentials
Ron L. Brown, CFP, is co-founder of Athlete Essentials and Chairman of RL Brown Wealth Management. He is an expert in wealth management, retirement planning, tax and estate planning, and business management. Ron takes pride in his work in helping clients achieve their individual financial goals. He graduated from Asbury University in 2003 and earned his CFP, Certified Financial Planner, credential in 2017. Learn more at athessentials.com and rlbrownwealth.com.