Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins made $19.9 million last year. This year, he'll earn $23.9 million. But you wouldn't guess his salary based on what he drives: a dented GMC Savana passenger van with more than 100,000 miles on it.
He and his wife bought it from his grandma for $5,000 in 2014.
"It's better to buy appreciating assets than depreciating," Cousins told Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal in 2016. "No yachts, no sports cars."
The starting quarterback makes a good point. The moment you drive a new car off the lot, its value depreciates by about 20 percent.
Cousins isn't the only member of the Redskins who is careful with his money. The team has "a group of stars who are obsessed with spending as little money as possible," Clark reports.
On any given day, next to Cousins' passenger van in the team parking lot, you may see "a bicycle, a handful of worn-out sedans and a beat-up old Mazda."
Some players even live with roommates to cut back on housing costs. Pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan, who signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract in 2015, shares an apartment with childhood friend Andrew Walker.
Kerrigan also keeps his food costs low, Walker tells the Wall Street Journal: "He makes most of his own meals but when he does splurge, he's going to Chipotle."
At the end of the day, "you don't know how long you're going to play," says Cousins. "You've got to save every dollar even though you are making a good salary. You never know what's going to happen so I try to put as much money away as I can."
Other players in the league share Cousins' philosophy.
"Even after you've made it to the NFL and you're 'living the dream,' it can all be gone in a split second," says wide receiver Ryan Broyles, who signed $3.6 million rookie contract — $1.1 million of which was guaranteed — when he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2012. "The game, the paycheck, the spotlight — just like that, you could lose everything."
Broyles is planning for the worst and securing his future now. He and his wife live on a modest $60,000 a year, preferring to stash the rest of his salary — which has been as high as $570,000 a year — in investments and retirement savings accounts.
"The goal was to play 10 years in the NFL," the athlete writes on The Players' Tribune. "But financially, I planned like I wouldn't make it past the next 10 minutes."
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