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16 Financial Tips for Michael Vick

{ Posted on Nov 22 2010 by Marcus Alston }

Michael Vick is trying to turn his life around on and off the field.  This includes his financial life.

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a housing project in Newport News Virginia.  He would later attend college on the talents contained in his legs and left arm by playing football for Virginia Tech.  He was called the “Michael Jordan” of football by some.

Michael Vick had it all: Fame, youth, money, fans, and riches as one of the highest paid players in the NFL.  He was drafted first overall in the 2001 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons after his sophomore year at Virginia Tech.  Vick was the first black quarterback selected first overall in the NFL draft.  Michael played for the Atlanta Falcons for 6 exciting seasons before he was later sentenced in December 2007 to 23 months in federal prison in Leavenworth Kansas for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring.

With no source of income, Michael Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because after a series of bad investments, bad choices and bad business dealings, his debts exceeded his assets.  Even in prison, “vultures” such as Mary Wong and David A. Talbot took advantage of him by allegedly using his money for personal gain.

Michael Vick was released from prison on July 20, 2009.

Fast forward to today.  Vick is staring again in the NFL, this time with the Philadelphia Eagles—my favorite football team.  By all accounts he is markedly better than he ever was in Atlanta or last year with the Eagles.  As a person, he is dedicated to his profession, works hard, and is surrounded by good coaches.  He is humble now too.  Credit for Vick’s comeback undoubtedly is due to the support of many people, including, former Indianapolis Colts Coach and Superbowl Winning Coach Tony Dungy for going to bat for Vick in front of the NFL; his former teammate in Philadelphia now with the Washington Redskins, Donovan McNabb, for recruiting him in 2009; and Andy Reid for having faith in him.  A point on McNabb:  Donovan showed how unselfish he is by welcoming Vick and setting an example for him for the year they played together.  Vick learned from McNabb, but has even more talent than the incredibly talented McNabb has.  In fact, many believe that there has been no one as talented as Vick in terms of shear athletic ability at the quarterback position in the history of the game.  If he can only work as hard as McNabb or Peyton Manning work (or Jordan in basketball), he will be the best ever.

Financial Advice.  This advice is similar to advice I gave to Allen Iverson and all athletes, but is tailored to and directed at Vick’s situation.  Vick, I advise the following:

1.  You must surround yourself with ethical and trustworthy legal and financial advisers who are competent.  The aforementioned David Talbot was none of these things.  He was not a financial person at all, but an engineer, plus was an alleged  liar, thief and opportunist.

2.  For the law firms, consider the big national firms or the large, established local firms.  Philadelphia has great law firms that are national and local.

3.  For all service providers such as accountants, financial advisers, and lawyers, have someone do a background check and get at least 3 references.  Interview the references, and do create a file on these folks.  Do an internet search as well to see if anyone has written anything bad on them.  A check on Mary Wong would have shown that Wong had been permanently barred from working with any firm that traded on the New York Stock Exchange as the result of taking more than $150,000 from 2 elderly widows she met while working at Wells Fargo Investments.

4.  Once you have a talented, trustworthy and competent team, continue to negotiate with your creditors and give them updates, document your contact with them and request that they do the same.  Creditors like being kept informed.

5.  Periodically have your finances reviewed by a third party independent of your service providers to confirm everything is being managed correctly and nothing fishy is going on.

6.  Look out for new “vultures” (i.e folks out to get over on you) and temptations.  You are doing well now and your financial viability is looking up.  Unfortunately, this will attract great Eagles fans and great vultures too.  Its these latter birds that you have to watch out for.

7.  Keep your inner circle small.

8.  Don’t violate your agreement with the NFL Commissioner or the conditions of your release.  As a fan, I am really pulling for you stay on the straight and narrow.  Failure to comply with these conditions threatens your livelihood.

9.  Stay away from casinos, strip clubs, gambling.  No smoking or drugs at any time, even during the off season.

10. Continue playing well, studying the play book, working harder than others and acting mature on and off the field.

11.  Continue to give great interviews.  This will help repair your image, create good will, show others a good example, and may lead you to some product endorsements that you lost.  Remember, you used to have Nike, EA Sports, Coke, PowerAid, and Hasbro, just to name a few.

12.  Sign with the Eagles when your contract is up this year.  You have great coaches and you are thriving in the system.  The team is young and you are still young too.  The offense is dynamic, has great personnel and the defense is solid too.

13.  Get rid of the posse.  This is tough love.  Besides mom, dad, spouse, kids and your siblings, don’t help or support anyone else financially, unless you are legally obligated to do so.

14.  Think like a miser.  You may never get another contract again and the one you have might not be guaranteed.

15.  Save, save, save. Don’t know how much? Click here for help.

16.  Read my article on Allen Iverson and Shaq for more tips on what and what not to do financially.

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