Money

NFL star Richard Sherman says this book changed his mindset about money

Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks laughs with teammate Bobby Wagner (54) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter during a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts on October 01, 2017 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle,
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Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks laughs with teammate Bobby Wagner (54) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter during a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts on October 01, 2017 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle,

Today, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman holds a degree from Stanford University and a $57.4 million contract in the NFL. He's also been to two Super Bowls.

Sherman's even studying up on cryptocurrencies and is an investor in digital currencies like ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin. He's a spokesman for Cobinhood, an exchange platform, and an investor in the company's coin COB.

But as a kid growing up in Compton, Calif., Sherman didn't have many opportunities to learn about how to invest or manage wealth. His father woke up at 3:45 a.m. every day for over 20 years to drive a trash truck for the Los Angeles sanitation department, while his mother went to work helping disabled children, according to the Los Angeles Times.

His perspective changed when he picked up a copy of a personal finance classic in high school.

"The very first book I read that really opened my mind to the way money works in general was 'Rich Dad Poor Dad,'" Sherman tells CNBC Make It. "We didn't have a lot of money, we didn't have a lot going for us at all, and that really opened my mind to what you could really do with money."

Published in 1997, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki reflects on a mindset that many wealthy people adopt: Financial success isn't just about saving money, it is about putting money to work to actively grow.

In the book, Kiyosaki compares the approaches his two father figures took toward earning and saving money. While both had successful careers, his father (the poor dad) "left bills to be paid," while the father of his best friend (the rich dad) "died leaving tens of millions of dollars to his family, charities and his church," Kiyosaki writes.

The difference was that the rich dad used his money as a tool, while the poor dad just earned and saved. That point was particularly important for Sherman.

"In my mind, in my eyes, the way I was raised — a dollar earned was a dollar spent," Sherman explains. "I can't tell you how much that book changed my perspective and changed the way I look at that."

He's not the only NFL player to glean lessons from Kiyosaki's work. Ryan Broyles, formerly a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, wrote for The Players' Tribune in 2016 that the book changed his outlook as well.

"The Poor Dad's philosophy basically reinforced the way I already thought about money: Make money to live, and save some along the way," Broyles writes. "But the Rich Dad's lessons — making your money work for you by investing it and acquiring income-generating assets — made me realize that I needed to make changes in how I thought about money if I ever wanted to be that Rich Dad and not have to work for somebody else."

While NFL players often earn millions, many struggle financially after their athletic career ends. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2015 found that roughly one in six players in the NFL files for bankruptcy within 12 years of retiring from their career.

"None of us really grew up with ... financial literacy," Sherman tells CNBC Make It.

But Sherman says he sees players taking more control of their financial future: "People in my sport, in my field, are definitely becoming more educated and trying to be more intelligent with how they play for the money and understanding where their money is going."

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