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Mark Teixiera: Why saving for retirement is key for athletes (and everyone else)

Key Points
  • Many Major Leaguers earn big fortunes early on, only to end up broke during retirement.
  • MLB All-Star and ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira has planned wisely and is now hitting some major home runs in real estate.
  • His real estate development company, Urban Creek Partners, is currently developing several projects in the Atlanta area.
  • Now, as a member of CNBC's Financial Wellness Advisory Council, he's helping to educate others on how to achieve financial success.
VIDEO2:3502:35
Former Yankee Mark Teixiera reminds athletes that their careers are very short but their earning potential doesn't have to be

Although former Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira earned a fortune on the baseball diamond, he's always preached the value of living on a budget.

"There's many jobs out there that you can do forever. … Baseball's not one of them," the Major League All-Star said.

Originally drafted in 2001 by the Texas Rangers, Teixeira later went on to play for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees. He won the World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and eventually retired after the 2016 season. He is currently an ESPN analyst.

New York Yankees’ Mark Teixeira bats during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 9, 2015.
Getty Images

Although his final year's salary with the Yankees banked him just over $23 million, it's a given that most professional athlete earnings are compressed into just a handful of years. At last look, an estimated 60% of former NBA players go broke within five years of departing the league. And by no means are these financial problems confined to the NBA. A reported 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or under financial stress just two years after retirement. Some of the reasons: financial illiteracy, financial schemes and scams, dishonest or unqualified advisors and reckless spending.

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With this in mind, Teixeira knew he needed to think long term.

"There's things that you want and there's things that you need, and you have to kind of figure out, OK, how much money do I have in the bank right now? What do I need to live off of? What's the extra things that I like? What I learned early is there's a bucket for my nest egg that I've put away and I never have to worry about again. Then there's the bucket for opportunities."

To set himself up after baseball, Teixeira pursued his second love: real estate. "I invested in some companies, I started a real estate company, invested in some property, and that's paid huge dividends," he said.

Teixeira co-founded Urban Creek Partners, a real estate development company that creates value through sustainable real estate investments.
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In 2016 Teixeira co-founded Urban Creek Partners, a real estate development company whose mission is to create value through sustainable real estate investments that create community and lifestyle.

"I love real estate. We're developing 70 acres of mixed-use buildings. That is fun for me."

The project he is referring to is Quarry Yards, in West Midtown Atlanta. Plans are under way to break ground this year and create an area comprised of 575,000 square feet of office space, 850 residential units, a 300-room hotel and 75,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.

I use 5% as a rule. So if you think you're gonna need 500 grand a year to live off of for the rest of your life, you better have $10 million bucks in the bank that's gonna create that income for you.
Mark Teixeira

Now, as a member of CNBC's Financial Wellness Advisory Council, Tiexiera plans to help others learn how to become financially secure.

"I've told every athlete that will listen, make sure you have enough in the bank, when you retire, that you never need another dollar—ever. I use 5% as a rule. So if you think you're gonna need 500 grand a year to live off of for the rest of your life, you better have $10 million bucks in the bank that's gonna create that income for you," he said.

Teixeira says getting enjoyment out of what you do is key. "If you invest in something that you're not passionate about, you're not gonna give it enough time and energy to make it worthwhile."

Former Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira talks to kids at a DREAM baseball youth clinic.
courtesy: DREAM

Indeed, he has followed his own advice, doing what he is passionate about, not only in business but through worthy causes as well. In 2018 Teixeira was the recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award for his many years of charitable work. He is on the board of DREAM, a nonprofit organization based in Harlem dedicated to providing youth with the opportunities to play, learn and grow and to empower all children to recognize their potential and realize their dreams.

In 2017 DREAM donated $1.5 million to turn a rundown Patterson, New Jersey, playground into a turf baseball field where children would want to play. The organization plans to continue doing these projects throughout the tristate area. Teixeira is also dedicated to healthy and sustainable revitalization and is a board member of the Emerald Corridor Foundation, which works to build and restore safe green spaces and waterways in northwest Atlanta.

Mark Teixiera, former first baseman of the New York Yankee's, is a Gold Glove winner who is known for his great plays.
courtesy: New York Yankees

Check out 4 Money Lessons Everyone Should Know by Age 25 via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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Key Points
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