With Super Bowl 50 approaching, this weekend is arguably the greatest sporting event in the world. Even the most casual of sports fan typically tune in. So much ‘noise’ around the game; who is playing the halftime show? Who will score first? Who will Cam give the ball too? Maybe that conversation turns to “what does so-in-so make?”

Virtually all of the players on the field Sunday make seven figures a year. For most of us, that’s just a fantasy. We may have done a good job of saving money over the years and eventually built a nice nest egg. For most, that day has come (or will soon) that we need to start drawing on that nest egg. So back to the Super Bowl….I bet a conversation that rarely comes is what does so-in-so SAVE? In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that 78% of NFL players go bankrupt after their playing days are done.

Believe it or not, there are few NFL players that we can actually learn from. So what exactly can we learn from NFL players? Live below your means. Yes, there are a handful that actually live well BELOW their means. Detroit Lions’ Ryan Broyles makes $900,000 year but lives on a $60,000 budget for him, his wife and young child. Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins drives a dented GMC Savana passenger van to work. “But it’s better to buy appreciating assets than depreciating. No yachts, no sports cars” says Cousins. Fellow Redskin and two-time pro bowl running back Alfred Morris, who makes a base salary of $1.5 million this year, has taken to riding a bike to work and leaving it in his reserved parking space. On days when it’s too cold or otherwise inconvenient to cycle to the facility, Morris switches to a splashier ride: a 1991 Mazda 626, which he drove up from Florida as a rookie in 2012. He calls it his Bentley. Pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract earlier this year. But he still shares his apartment in suburban Virginia with a roommate.

In a world of ‘spend what you make and then some’, it’s nice to appreciate (and learn from) some of the best on and off the field. There is an old rule in finance originally published by financial planner William Bengen. In short, it found that if you took 4 percent from your savings in your first year of retirement and increased the dollar amount of withdrawals each year by the inflation rate that you had a 95 percent chance of your portfolio surviving for 30 years. As the most recent ‘playoff months’ have not been kind to equity investors, it’s important to remember to focus on what we can control. If it takes learning from a select few in the NFL for motivation, then so be it.

Go Cowboys and Texans (in 2017)!!!