How A Star NFL Player Achieved Financial Success

He was on the receiving end of the passes from Drew Brees that led the New Orleans Saints to victory in the 2009 Super Bowl. But what distinguishes Marques Colston from his fellow ex-NFL players and other retired athletes is his successful post-professional career.

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In a world where 78% of former NFL players face bankruptcy or extreme financial distress within two years of retirement, Colson has been a successful investor and entrepreneur.

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And he is showing other players how to replicate that success. Colston is educating current and retired professional athletes to avoid the well-travelled road to bankruptcy so prevalent among his former colleagues.

Colston has just launched a program at Columbia Business School in venture investing and entrepreneurship to help professional athletes preserve their wealth, develop due-diligence processes for investment decisions and raise capital to launch businesses. His work with a financial advisory team during his playing years set him up for the financial success he is achieving in his post-NFL career.

Colston had an impressive career as an NFL wide receiver, playing for New Orleans from 2006 to 2015. As a 6’ 4” and 225 lb. wide receiver, he helped the Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV with seven receptions for 83 yards against the Indianapolis Colts. He is the Saints' all-time franchise leader in receiving yards (9,759), yards from scrimmage (9,766), receiving touchdowns (72), total touchdowns (72), and total receptions (711). For a short Colston NFL education, check out his highlight reel here.

As a full time entrepreneur, he spoke with ease, confidence and determination about his successful transition from star NFL player to successful entrepreneur and educator as I interviewed him by phone on March 15.

Early in his NFL career, with a $5,000,000 signing bonus in his pocket and a lucrative contract ahead of him, Colston sought help from professional financial advisors. Colston hired a Merrill Lynch advisor team that included two ex-NFL players. One was his friend and mentor, retired Oakland Raider defensive end Lance Johnstone, who had successfully transitioned to the advisory world after retiring from the NFL.

As Colston described it, his advisors saw things from his own perspective and had successful careers in the NFL and afterwards as financial advisors. Colston said that they “lived the blueprint that set the stage” for his own success after his retirement. His advisors taught him “the ins and outs of where his money was, along with asset allocation and other fundamentals.” But they also supported and guided his entrepreneurial and investment ventures rather than solely focusing on traditional portfolio investments. With those foundations, Colston bought into a professional indoor football League (PIFL) team in his hometown of Harrisburg, PA, the Stampede, and ran the operations for two years.

Read the full article by Justin Kermond, Advisor Perspectives