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November 27, 2015

Sports Business

Play Money

The finances of pro athletes too frequently follow a riches-to-rags trajectory. Not the least of their challenges involves finding a good financial adviser.

Mike Vogel | 5/1/2011

Parthemer and King move rookies to muni bonds and similarly safe investments in their second year and "a little bit more aggressive" investments as the career progresses. "We need the sure things. They're always going to find something off on the side that will give them that high level of risk," Parthemer says.

"I'm a safe guy. I do a lot of safe investments and bonds. Stick to the budget," says Asante Samuel (center), pictured with financial advisers Aaron Parthemer (left) and Sylvester King Jr. [Photo: Jeffrey Salter]

Consider Samuel, who owns a record label even though Parthemer and King decry such investments. Parthemer has a distinct memory of Samuel saying, "I'm not letting you talk me out of this." Provided an athlete has solid savings put aside, invested safely, and limits how much he can lose on something speculative, Parthemer will agree to a risky investment. Samuel always has been a saver, Parthemer says.

Says Samuel, who made north of $9 million last season, "I'm a safe guy. I do a lot of safe investments and bonds. Stick to the budget."

Meanwhile, Biggers, 23, the Bucs defensive back, takes small steps. He is financially focused, once telling the St. Petersburg Times that one of his two most visited websites was his bank's site, where he keeps an eye on his account. He lives on a weekly allowance and has to call Parthemer if he wants to tap other funds. "I talk to a lot of other guys on my team, and they say you have an allowance. That's smart," Biggers says.

Biggers saved 20 months of living expenses to prepare for the lockout. He says he keeps his expenses low. Like other NFL players, he has to pay a personal trainer. He also helped his mother move into a home in a better neighborhood to raise his little brother. But he drives a 5-year-old Dodge Charger and to avoid temptation, he doesn't socialize much with athletes well out of his income bracket. He shares the rent on a North Miami apartment with boyhood friend Louis Delmas, who plays for the Detroit Lions.

Parthemer says Biggers is "one of the top guys I've ever met" in terms of his approach. "He's not calling us up and saying, 'I'm thinking about this new Bentley. I'm thinking about this new Rolls-Royce.' It's more about take care of his mom and younger brother and building something for himself first. He really is a saver. I don't think I've seen him spend anything on the luxury side. After two years in the NFL, that's hard to do."

Biggers even has a general plan for a career in counseling or coaching after football. He knows the stories of players ending their careers with no plan and no money. "I don't want to be like that."

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