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Sorta Random Sunday: The Most Financially Literate Athlete?

When you think of the average athlete, financial literacy isn’t the first thing that typically comes to mind. In fact, we probably think of the average athlete as being minimally financially literate. In the media, we most often hear about how athletes squander their incredible earnings.

Meanwhile it’s lost on us that physicians do the same thing pretty often as well

Anyway, while there are various examples of financially savvy athletes like Shaq, one athlete in particular has always caught my attention. For multiple reasons. And just the other day I saw an article of this athlete doing another incredibly cool thing in the personal finance space.

Who is this financially literate athlete?

He is Brandon Copeland.

Now I know this is not the most recognizable name in sports. Brandon is an NFL linebacker who has played with a bunch of teams including the NY Jets, which is how I was first introduced to him.

Brandon Copeland

I initially started paying attention because he was a very underrated pass rush specialist in my mind. But then I started listening to him and found out about his extracurricular interest in personal finance.

What’s his background?

So, Brandon went to UPenn where he also obviously played football. Before moving on to the NFL, he graduated from the Wharton Business School with a B.S. in Economics. Pretty impressive stuff.

However, it’s not so much his background as what he is doing with his passion and knowledge of personal finance that is inspiring.

Making the world a better place

Combine knowledge, passion, and a platform and you have a powerful ability to influence, both for good and for bad, I suppose.

However, Brandon has definitely used his abilities and outreach for the greater good. As player, he helped coach other players in the basics of personal finance and financial well-being. Not unlike in the physician finance space, he recognized a big problem and sought to help his colleagues improve.

He also spent years as professor of one of the most popular courses at UPenn, teaching the basics of personal finance to undergraduate and graduate students.

financially literate athlete
Professor Copeland

But that’s only where it begins.

Everyone deserves financial well-being. But certainly athletes making millions and college students in the Ivy League have advantages that most simply don’t. So Brandon formed a foundation with multiple facets aimed at helping young kids to have all the resources they need to succeed. This includes teaching personal finance as well as football.

And in 2020, he won the NFL’s Alan Page award for community outreach.

You can learn more about all he has done for his community or contribute here.

Beyond the basics

While I knew all of this stuff before, I was shocked and very happily surprised to see Brandon as a host of the new Netflix show, Buy My House!

This is a Shark Tank like show on Netflix where investors hear real estate pitches from other investors.

And he did this all while a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

Pretty. Cool.

A message received

It is easy to stay in our own bubble. Brandon is inspiring not just for improving his own financial well-being and that of his colleagues but of his community as a whole, notably the youth.

It is a message that that I hope to carry on in my own small way. I encourage all of you to do the same!

Also, if you are interested in joining the debate over who has it better financially, doctors or athletes, check this out: Comparing the Financial Lives of Doctors & Professional Athletes!

What do you think? What is your mission in personal finance? Can financial literacy help us all? Who are other great financially literate athletes? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

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