On the Money

Easy come, easy keep: How stars can hold on to their wealth

Big League lessons

Professional athletes, celebrities and lottery winners all have one thing in common: they tend to get rich quick—only to lose their newfound wealth even quicker. That sudden reversal of fortune is so common that wealth advisors can predict with near certainty just how fast these groups will lose their money.

According to Sports Illustrated, 60 percent of former professional basketball players are broke within five years after retirement, with joblessness and divorce being prime factors for mismanaging their wealth.

"You give a 19-year-old a check for a million dollars, he thinks it's a million dollars," former linebacker Bart Scott said an interview with CNBC's "On the Money."

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Scott, a former NFL linebacker who played from 2002-2012 with the NY Jets and Baltimore Ravens, had total career earnings of $61 million. However, Scott ultimately learned the value of a dollar after he left the field.

"You learn about taxation. You learn about insurance. You learn about how to protect yourself and how to have an emergency fund," Scott said.

"Unfortunately, as athletes we never see the end coming, so when you start understanding that [you] have to make this money last, because most of us have to go out and get another occupation when we finish," he added.

Scott is now a CBS Sports Analyst and has teamed up with Morgan Stanley to help teach athletes financial literacy.

From the gridiron to the poorhouse

Bart Scott playing for the New York Jets in 2012
Al Pereira | New York Jets | Getty Images

It's not common to see players lose a fortune from excessive shopping sprees, by accumulating massive amounts of debt that leads to bankruptcy—or even getting cheated by unscrupulous advisors. In addition, many nouveau-riche athletes have blamed poor investments, child support and over-the-top generosity for their financial downfall.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 15.7 percent of National Football League (NFL) players have filed for bankruptcy 12 years after they retired, while many more struggle financially after leaving the sport.

"You hear a lot about the stories that takes place with athletes but it translates into what regular people do. It's all about planning and savings, things people need to think about earlier in their lives when it comes to their finances," says Drew Hawkins, Morgan Stanley's managing director and head of global sports and entertainment.

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Hawkins spearheads a wealth management program to help teach sports and entertainment figures how to make informed decisions and take control of their financial futures.

The advice Hawkins offer is practical to everyone: save aggressively. He also tells athletes consider making changes to their lifestyles and to embrace financial planning lessons. He also focuses on bringing money management education to collegiate athletes before they sign lucrative deals.

"We want to get these kids before they become professional athletes," Hawkins said. "Athletes are coachable. We want to be coached. We've been coached our entire life and if we don't give them [student athletes] a little bit of information at the institutional level, then we're failing them."

Scott often joins Hawkins at host sessions that uses real-life stories of relatable financial pitfalls to show participants how to get a solid financial foundation and learn wealth discipline. Thus far, the Morgan Stanley financial education program has met with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, the basketball, hockey and football teams at Boston College, and the US Ski and Snowboarding Association.

Additional programs are in the works with other teams and sports leagues both at the collegiate and professional level.

"Start having the conversations with your kids at an early age on how to respect money and see it as a resource, not the end all and be all," says Scott.

On the Money airs on CNBC Sundays at 7:30 pm, or check listings for airtimes in local markets.