Lucas Neill the famous soccer player with the Socceroos and the West Ham former skipper has been declared bankrupt in the United Kingdom. The 38-year-old former West Ham skipper earned a reported $40 million across two decades in top flight football.
London-based insolvency firm Begbies Traynor were appointed trustees to the bankruptcy last week. Neill had been involved in a number of high-profile investments during his playing career, including a US property portfolio and a coaching business in Sydney.
Administrators say it will be some time until their investigations into Neill's finances are complete, perhaps months, and that it is too early to establish the full extent of his debts.
Lucas Neill of course is only one of a long list of such elite athletes over many years who have gone 'bust' (as it were). Cricketers, Rugby League and AFL players, Tennis, Boxing ... the list is as long as your arm and not only Australians.
In the US there is a television program 'Ballers' that recounts such unfortunates and their investments gone bad - it's a popular program as it is essentially 'comedy' and marketed as such, but underneath the humour is a reality that bites.
Elite athletes require a special kind of financial planning. I have a friend who is in senior banking and he reveals the following -
Elite athletes have a limited earning period.
Many earn huge $ through sponsorships.
The danger is likened to a child in a lolly shop.
Too much too soon creates an atmosphere of hurried decisions
Too many and varied investment choices breeds confusion
International investments are even more trickier
Require specialist investment advisors - not you local bank friend
Sadly tried and true investments are the last thing many of these elite athletes go for with their oodles of dollars.
The mind set, my friend says is something along these lines
Easy come and all to quick
Let's not miss the bus, get into the latest fad
Huge $ investments and great rewards is the carrot
Decisions based on a 'good idea' without du-diligence
What's wrong with "CASH" and old slow money?
With these young elite athletes earning such huge money, what is wrong with "CASH".
What is wrong with CASH and old and slow money? Buying old blue chip shares with CASH, buying existing houses with CASH, government bonds with CASH and any number of similar slow but safe options with CASH.
Put aside those 'smart' financial ideas as these elite athletes have CASH!
Talk to those elite athletes who have chased the 'big investment bucks' that has fallen over and they will reveal story after story of 'brilliant ideas' and 'exciting opportunities' and 'forward thinking' and ..... yet they had CASH in the first instant. (we mortals are not in this situation).
Had they had their time over again, now much wiser, they might have, with CASH - what's known as 'Plain Janes' that once invested, put their mum in charge of their house portfolios or their dad keeping a sharp eye on the old blue chips.
Mum and dad might not be the sharpest axe at the Royal Easter Show but they'll be looking out for their son or daughter's interest 'ten thousand percent' keeping their eye on the ball (as it were). After all they paid for these with their own CASH!
The Proverbs never cease speaking about wisdom.
Josh Hinds was a school chaplain on the Gold Coast for man years, now a businessman on the Central Coast of NSW. He is a family man and PSI's IT professional. Josh is an experienced writer on international sport.
Josh Hinds' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/joshua-hinds.html