NFL player who works part-time on Wall Street saves nearly 90% of his income

Brandon Copeland lives on 10 to 15 percent of his NFL salary
Robin Marchant | Getty Images

Detroit Lions defensive end Brandon Copeland knows that his NFL career has a expiration date. "It's guaranteed football is going to be over one day," the 25-year-old tells ESPN's Michael Rothstein.

That's why Copeland's planning ahead. The Wharton School graduate, who spent two summers interning at UBS in college, has been working remotely for Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers during the NFL off-season.

His analyst role started in March and runs through June, but it could easily turn into a full-time gig if he wanted it to. As George Weiss, founder of the firm, tells ESPN: "He's got talent, and I know this because we'd hire him in a second when his NFL career is over."

Brandon Copeland, defensive end for the Detroit Lions
Justin K. Aller | Getty Images

Copeland's not only thinking about a career after football, he's making smart moves to ensure his long term financial security. "I've literally hoarded money," he tells Rothstein. "I'm literally stacking, stacking, stacking."

He's not exaggerating: Nearly 60 percent of Copeland's post-tax salary goes towards "safe, long-term" investments, he tells ESPN. Another 30 percent goes towards savings and he lives off the remaining 10 to 15 percent.

"Anything I can get into an account and just let sit, I've got to a point where I have enough, where if football is over today, I have more than enough to take care of me for a while," Copeland says.

While Copeland's NFL salary — which averages $615,000 a year — puts his income well above that of the average American, you don't have to be rich to pay yourself first. The more you can set aside, the better, and even a little bit can end up paying large dividends, thanks to compound interest.

Many experts recommend following the "50-30-20 rule" of personal finance, meaning 50 percent of income goes to necessities like rent and groceries, 30 percent towards discretionary spending and 20 percent towards saving. Of course, if you can set aside 90 percent like Copeland does, power to you.

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