By Mandy Antoniacci
Picture it. You finally hit that thrilling pinnacle of your life–fame, fulfillment, and the fortune that comes with it. And I’m not just talking about some money, I’m talking about the this is a dream come true kind of bank. Seemingly overnight, you went from the monthly financial responsibilities of “roommate-shared rent” and a Netflix account to hiring someone to manage your money – someone you will later discover completely fools you.
While you spend every waking hour committed to perfecting your game, skillful manipulation from someone you trust, just turned your hard earned money into theirs.
This is the kind of manipulation that Leland Faust has seen one too many times.
From professional athletes and entertainers to Wall Street and Main Street, in nearly four decades of managing money, Faust has seen it all. His latest book, A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street is Fleecing You and Ruining America, chronicles his mission to expose such behavior.
Faust founded CSI Capital Management in 1978 and managed a mutual fund which outperformed almost all of Wall Street. Nearly every major news, finance and sports publication such as New York Times, Barron’s, Sports Illustrated, and The Wall Street Journal have profiled his work. For his contribution to the sports community, Faust was named among the “100 Most Powerful People in Sports” by The Sporting News, making him one of only two investment advisors ever to be included.
His lessons apply to anyone – professional athletes, entertainers, startup founders, etc. – who catapult into serious financial means overnight. The week before the NFL Draft, I sat down with Faust to seek his top tips for the newest crop of overnight heroes and future entrepreneurial successes. Here’s his advice:
1. Separate your finances from your agent.
“You don’t want your agent to be involved in your financial life other than negotiating your contracts. Agents, by trade, have no expertise in finances and you don’t want to be getting advice from them, or a firm that they are interested in, or any company that may be giving them a referral fee. Additionally, you positively never, ever, ever give a power of attorney to your agent or a general power of attorney to your financial advisor. That’s where so much of the trouble happens, and people start writing themselves checks.”
2. Look at each contract as the last contract, even if you think you are a superstar.
“The hardest thing for so many people is to resist the temptation to spend everything you get right away. If you plan your savings as if your first deal was your last deal…and it isn’t…great! Then you can have more and more. The idea here is that you want to live like a prince forever, not like a king for the length of your career and a pauper for the rest of your life.”
3. Adopt a two times Harvard Business School method for saving.
“This is particularly applicable for the people who cash out in startups and newly drafted athletes. Let’s say if you’re a 25-year-old person, who of the 25-year-olds in America essentially make the most money. They are the people who go to the top law schools or the top business schools. So, at 25 years of age, they are making, let’s say a couple hundred thousand dollars a year in this world. They are living the good life! But somehow, with professional athletes, a $400,000 a year minimum salary or a $2,000,000 contract isn’t enough. And that’s insanity, right? So, I have adopted, use the two times Harvard business school method in my discussions. If the graduate at Harvard business school is living the good life for $200,000, you could live the good life for $400,000 and save the rest.”
4. Ensure your financial advisor is legally a fiduciary.
“Ask that question directly, are you a fiduciary? If your advisor says, ‘no,’ you say, ‘it’s been nice knowing you.’ If they say, ‘yes,’ then get it in writing. This question is especially critical with athletes because most are less financially savvy. Once you obtain this in writing, then you have to start looking at their approach – is there any promise of higher returns, get rich quick, or that kind of thing? If you hear anything like that, …goodbye! You always want slow and steady. That’s vital. You want somebody who’s balanced, acknowledges uncertainty in the world, and is prepared to deal with it. Someone who can show you real results that comply with the SEC standards for advertising returns.”
5. Set the standard for your team.
“The worst offender in any area of consumption is the biggest offender. It sets a standard for the entire team. You don’t want that. Understand the power is saving money not spending money. The reason behind this is because you can control your destiny. If you save your money and have assets, you decide what to do, if you don’t somebody else tells you what to do.”