Ryan Broyles has lived on a modest $60,000 a year throughout his NFL career, preferring to stash the rest of his salary — which has been as high as $570,000 — in investments and retirement savings accounts.
But the wide receiver, who is now a free agent, wasn't always good with money.
When he entered the NFL draft five years ago, his credit report "was terrible," the athlete writes on The Players' Tribune. "I had late payments. Delinquent bills. Accounts in collections. It was bad."
"When the Lions drafted me in the second round of the 2012 draft and I got my signing bonus, the first thing I did was pay down my debts and put my bills on autopay — the first steps to getting my credit right," says Broyles, who signed a $3.6 million rookie contract, $1.1 million of which was guaranteed.
Automating your finances is a simple yet highly effective money-saving strategy that anyone can use. Besides paying your bills — whether those be credit card balances, student loans or rent — automatically, like Broyles does, you can also send your money straight from your paycheck or checking account to a retirement savings account, investment account or an emergency fund.
That way you'll never even see the money and learn to live without it.
It allows you to build wealth effortlessly, says personal finance expert David Bach. "You'll never forget a payment again — and you'll never be tempted to skimp on savings because you won't even see the money going directly from your paycheck to your savings accounts," he writes in "The Automatic Millionaire"
Plus, you'll save time and simplify your life, says self-made millionaire Chris Reining, who reached the $1 million mark at age 35, thanks to automating his finances: "I automated my money years ago, and the benefit is I don't have to make decisions about where my money should go, how much I should invest, what I can spend, do I have enough savings, and so on."
Ultimately, that's Broyles' goal. The NFL player recognizes that a football career — and the paycheck that comes with it — "can all be gone in a split second," so he's planning for the worst and securing his future now.
"The goal was to play 10 years in the NFL," he writes. "But financially, I planned like I wouldn't make it past the next 10 minutes."
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.