From the time he was 14, Rob Gronkowski was committed to reaching the NFL. At 20, his dream came true when he signed with the New England Patriots. With the Patriots, Gronkowski — aka "Gronk" — won three Super Bowls rings and earned more than $50 million. So it surprised the football world when he retired in March at the age of 29.
Gronkowski on the other hand, was prepared for it.
In his 2015 book "It's Good to Be Gronk," Gronkowski said that at the start of his career he decided to save all his NFL paychecks and live off endorsement money instead.
"The whole point of saving throughout my NFL career was to be set for after football because you don't know how long football will last," Gronkowski told CNBC Make It on Jan 21.
He'd seen his NFL player brothers, Chris and Dan, leave after just four and five seasons, respectively. Unlike like the MLB and the NBA, NFL player contracts aren't fully guaranteed, and Gronkowski wanted to ensure that, after football, he wouldn't have to worry about "financials," he says.
Now "it feels good to be in [this] position. It feels good just to go out there and try to find things that I would just love to do," Gronkowski says.
One of those things is television. In October, FOX NFL Sunday hired Gronkowski as a football analyst — which was another dream come true for him.
Hanging up his Patriots jersey has been good for Gronkowski in other ways too. He says he feels better than ever after losing 10 to 15 pounds with changes in his diet (including intermittent fasting) and exercise. Gronkowski has been focusing on stability workouts he learned from former teammate Tom Brady, which Gronk has turned into a six-week program for fitness app Fitplan.
Though Gronkowski does admit to once splurging on a six-figure gold chain with diamonds a few years into his career, his advice to young athletes and fans is save as much as you can: "You don't need to be spending on luxury items until you are truly financially safe," he says.
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