After Kerney retired, he earned an MBA from Columbia University and went on to give financial advice to other NFL players. He is now the director of business development at NFC Investments and principal at Kerney Insurance.
To newly minted pros, Kerney advocates for a very conservative mindset at the outset. "Keep a year's worth of spending in cash in a high-yield savings account and invest the rest," he said.
"They need to act like this contract is the only contract they'll ever have in the NFL and treat future contracts like gravy."
Willie Thomas, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who also became a financial pro, dedicates himself to working primarily with athletes on managing their wealth as a Merrill Lynch advisor based in San Francisco.
Thomas admits to facing financial trouble early on in his football career in Seattle after buying a house for his mom that stretched his funds to the breaking point.
Now, Thomas recommends that young players find a trustworthy advisor and set up a financial plan with a monthly budget and withdrawal rate of 4 percent or less. That will help players establish parameters around spending and manage requests for money from friends and family, he said.
To protect yourself and your retirement, it's important that you understand the type of advice you're getting when you meet with a financial advisor. [Click here for the key questions you should ask.]
But naturally, with a windfall also comes the temptation to splurge, and that's OK — within limits.
"Diversification is not buying a Mercedes and a BMW," said Jeff Francis, a private wealth manager at Raymond James Financial Services and former quarterback for the Los Angeles Raiders and Cleveland Browns.
Francis advises players against trying to keep up with the Joneses. "We need this money to last a lifetime, so figure out a lifestyle that's sustainable," he said.
"If you want a big purchase, by all means, but it shouldn't happen every year."
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