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Study examines bankruptcy rate among NFL players

Right now, most of the discussion surrounding the National Football League is centered on meticulously dissecting the week one performances of all 32 teams. Prior to that, most of this discussion was centered on preseason play and, of course, all-important predictions for the 2015 season.

Lost amid this seemingly never-ending analysis was the publication of a rather fascinating study by the National Bureau of Economic Research examining the rates at which professional football players seek bankruptcy protection.

As part of their study, the NBER researchers focused on the experiences of players who were drafted between 1996 and 2003. Somewhat shockingly, they determined that an astounding 16 percent -- or one in six -- of the players included in the study filed for bankruptcy within 12 years of retirement, and that neither the amount of time spent in the league nor the money amassed during a playing career had an effect on the findings.

Why then are so many NFL players, who were presumably paid rather handsomely, taking this action?

The NBER researchers theorize that many players aren't following the time-tested method of spending less now in order to save more for later, but rather are discounting the lessons of the players association's financial wellness program and spending at a level commensurate with their income.

Some of the other problem areas for NFL players identified by experts over the years include:

  • Relying on poor financial advice
  • Failing to execute a prenuptial agreement
  • Investing in high-risk ventures like restaurants and bars
  • Falling victim to peer pressure to spend

While it's easy to pass judgment in situations like these, it's also important to acknowledge that many of these athletes made a very wise decision when faced with otherwise overwhelming debt. Indeed, by filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they were able to move past their overwhelming financial troubles and secure a fresh start.

If you would like to learn more about how to secure a fresh start, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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