The Real Athlete Blog


Expert Contributor: Matt Ramer



Matt Ramer

Consider the three most important things in your life, or the three things most important to the charitable institution you represent. Chances are that in some way, money is related to being able to provide for these three pillars.

And thus, in the simplest terms, our purpose is to provide prudent

deployment of financial planning and risk management through education,

discipline, and common sense.

We recognize that charitable organizations face a unique set of challenges, concerns and rules regarding investing and planning. The KR Group works intensely to make sure clients do not engage in levels of risk they do not fully understand. As well the KR Group works diligently to ensure their clients and their clients? donors are well informed regarding relevant changes to legislation and planned giving.

Reflected in his passion for the support and well-being of others, Matthew has logged over 1300 hours of volunteer work between 2008 and 2009

through various organizations. He supports Low Income Families, preparing

tax returns, Young-Adult Cancer Survivors serving on the Finance

Committee of The SAM Fund, and as a pilot for Angel Flight which transport

patients in need of medical care whom other wise may not have appropriate

medical access.

Matthew has achieved the rank of Captain with the Civil Air Patrol; US Air Force Auxiliary. He is also a National Search and Rescue Flight Instructor. Matthew is also a member of Sports Financial Advisors Association.


Most Recent Articles

  1. Common Cents: The Reality of Performance Reporting

    by Matt Ramer 03-25-2012 06:18 PM Finance

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    Which is better, 7% or 8%?

    Part of the investment process involves monitoring and evaluating your success, or better yet, the success of the counselor or advisor who is charged with the responsibility of handling your investments. Unfortunately, it can be quite common among professional athletes, TV personalities, and screen actors to lack the understanding of how to do this, the time to do this, or even the interest in doing this. And often times, worse, many athletes put unwavering trust in an advisor who may be smart enough to obscure the reality of what’s happening behind the scenes. As such, I ask again, would you rather average a 7% return or an 8% return? The correct answer is: that’s not enough information to draw a conclusion.
    Now how could that be? Why would anyone prefer to accept a lower rate of return? The most obvious answer is that the investment having a higher average return may have necessitated the acceptance of greater risk. While that’s true, the risk factor still does not provide enough information to draw a conclusion to answer my question. In fact, in the interests of simplicity, let us assume that there is identical risk in these two hypothetical investments. I invite readers to re-assess why one may be happier with a 7% average return instead of an 8% average return.
    And the reason is… Because averages can lie. That’s correct. Have you ever heard of the swimmer who drowned in a lake with an average depth of only two feet? Sure the lake may have an average depth of two feet, while the deepest part may be 30 feet. And herein lies the problem with investment professionals and mutual funds who advertise average annual returns.
    I promise my readers not to bear down on mathematics and we really don’t need to. But I need to at least be sure that we understand what an “average” is. In our daily lives, we calculate averages all the time. If a player scores 10 points in one game and 30 points in another, we all know he/she is averaging 20 points. The actual equation is: The sum total of all numbers, divided by how many numbers there are. In this example, 10+30 = 40. Then we divide by 2 because we used two games. If a player scored in three games 10, 20, and 30 points, the average is obviously 20. The equation is: 10+20+30 = 60. Then we divide by 3 because we are discussing 3 games. 
    Now let’s get back to the point and talk about why averages in the investment world can be so terribly misleading.


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  2. Something To Think About, Edition #2: What to look out for in private business/investment opportunities

    by Matt Ramer 07-03-2011 11:32 PM Finance | Trusted Athlete Educator | Athlete Services

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    Co-edited by Scott J. Kaminsky: CFP ®, Financial Advisor, and Vice President of The KR Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC

    One of the most interesting yet burdensome challenges a Professional Athlete faces is the endless abyss of business opportunities presented. Let’s face it, you have money and others want it. Or, at the very least, entrepreneurs know you have money, and want you to join their posse so that you can fund their project. Many of these opportunities can be extremely profitable, while others can be total shams. So how can you tell the difference? Or better said, what should an athlete, or any investor, look out for when considering a business or investment opportunity?
    Notice how I used the words “Look out for” instead of “Look for.” The reason I chose these words is because, unfortunately, too many investors lead with “How much money can I make?” If you, the reader, can take one thing from this article, consider leading with, “How much money can I lose, rather than how much can I make?” And therein lies the first and most important point—RISK!
    1) Never invest in an opportunity, no matter how seemingly great, if its failure could devastate you.
    No matter how much profit could potentially come from a wise investment idea, if the result has the potential to do irreparable and permanent damage to your personal finances, the opportunity should be dismissed without hesitation. Consider this analogy. If your trainer described a new training technique which may improve your game by 20%, but the side effects could render you very sore for a few days, you may consider the benefits worth giving it a shot. However, if the side effects of this additional training technique could either cripple you or even kill you, I’m assuming most athletes would not take the risk. So then we ask ourselves, how much game time improvement would be necessary in order to accept the risk of a possible crippling injury caused by this new training technique? Hopefully, the answer is none.
    Returning to the topic at hand, if we determine the level of risk to be too great, the profitability can be, in most cases, considered irrelevant. It's easier to tease yourself because you missed an opportunity, than it is to tease yourself because you went broke.
    2) It is wise to be sure that ALL partners have money at risk.
    Have you ever been presented an investment opportunity by an individual who claims that their experience is what they bring to the table? It’s very important to realize that individuals behave different when risk is at hand. If a leader of an investment group has your money to risk but not their own, there is a high probability that they will accept significantly greater risk because, at the end of the day, it’s not their money they’re risking. This is such an important concept to understand, especially for Professional Athletes who represent a wealthy cross section of the public with limited financial experience.
    A traditional partnership is made up of General Partners (the decision makers) and Limited Partners (those without decision or voting rights.) This structure is very common and should not be perceived as dangerous simply because not every investor is a decision-maker. In fact, if you think about it, do you really want every partner to have an opinion? After all, this article is predicated on the idea that certain investors don’t have the necessary education to make informed decisions. As such, the General Partners (decision-makers) should be those that are financial professionals.
    Nonetheless, it is important that all investors have something to lose. This fundamental concept puts all partners on the same page. By no means does this single concept ensure that all partners are in agreement, but it’s a start.


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  3. Something To Think About: Introduction

    by Matt Ramer 02-22-2011 02:24 AM Finance

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    The culture of Professional sports is in so many ways glamorous. In fact, more often than not, among the first thoughts one has when thinking of Professional Athletes is their life style and levels of income. We often marvel at some of the current day contracts and wallow in thoughts of how much those paychecks can be. However, while the paychecks may be enormous, do too many of us, including these athletes, make the error of not discriminating between the size of a paycheck, and the amount of career earnings?

    Would it surprise you to learn that the average physician in America earns significantly more during their career than the average NFL player? However, we are in awe of the NFL player not because of their career earnings, but because of how big their contracts are perceived to be. And yet, each and every year, retired players are running out of money and declaring bankruptcy. How can that be?


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