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  1. Something To Think About: Affinity Fraud – What Is It And How Can Professional Athletes Avoid It?

    by Scott Kaminsky 06-02-2013 08:51 PM Finance

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    According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), affinity fraud is defined as the following:

    "Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster's ruse.

    These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam. Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group. This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment.

    Many affinity scams involve “Ponzi” or pyramid  schemes, where new investor money is used to make payments to earlier investors to give the false illusion that the investment is successful. This ploy is used to trick new investors to invest in the scheme and to lull existing investors into believing their investments are safe and secure. In reality, the fraudster almost always steals investor money for personal use. Both types of schemes depend on an unending supply of new investors - when the inevitable occurs, and the supply of investors dries up, the whole scheme collapses and investors discover that most or all of their money is gone. Man, just reading that definition infuriates me! Unfortunately, affinity fraud continues to be a problem within close-knit communities across the United States. I continue to hear stories time and time again and I’m amazed that these scams continue to happen. I understand why: human nature is to trust, and that trust and good nature fall victim far too often to scammers that have extremely thin moral fibers."

    That being said, Access Athletes and I are determined to help bring this scourge in the professional athlete community to a halt in any way that we can—starting with this month’s edition of “Something To Think About.”

    Please keep in mind that while these monthly articles are geared towards professional athletes, affinity fraud can target any group of people who take pride in their shared characteristics, whether they are religious, ethnic, or professional.

    Let’s take a look at a some affinity fraud cases that have hit professional athletes and the general population, and then we’ll provide some common sense solutions from the SEC on how to avoid Affinity fraud.

    Examples of Athletes Ensnared in Affinity Fraud Schemes

    Miami Dolphins defensive end Jared Odrick files lawsuit over alleged investment scam

    Yahoo! Sports reported that multiple federal agencies including the FBI, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice have been probing Success Trade and prominent financial adviser Jinesh “Hodge” Brahmbhatt of Jade management. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has red-flagged Success Trade for selling $18 million in fraudulent and unregistered promissory notes to 58 investors, 30 of whom were professional athletes. Some of the athletes include Jared Odrick, Joe Haden, Clinton Portis, and Adewale Ogunleye.

    Document: Terrell Owens' former financial adviser made unsuitable investment recommendations

    The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred broker Jeffrey Rubin citing “misconduct” involving 31 NFL players who sustained investment losses totaling approximately $40 million dollars, according to a March 7, 2013 FINRA release.

    Yahoo! Sports has reported that Rubin, who founded Pro Sports Financial, used his relationship with prominent agent Drew Rosenhaus to help sign at least 18 one-time Rosenhaus clients to invest in a failed casino project. Among those clients were past and present NFL players Jevon Kearse, Fred Taylor, Frank Gore, Plaxico Burress, and Terrell Owens.

    On May 15, 2013, the NFL Players Association issued an alert regarding Rubin’s misconduct.

    Philadelphia Eagles players Joshua Feeley, Brent Celek, and Kevin Curtis as well as Philadelphia Independence soccer player Heather Mitts lose entire investment accounts

    After William Crafton, Jr. became their investment advisor in 2006, the discussed “conservative investment strategy” was never carried out. The players’ goals were to preserve the wealth they had worked so hard for over their professional athletic careers. William Crafton, Jr. assured them that he employed a conservative, safe, and liquid investment strategy aimed at growth with little to no risk. The suit brought against William Crafton, Martin Kelly Capital Management, Sun Trust Bank, and CSI Capital Management allege securities violations, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent hiring, and professional malpractice.

    High-flying executive Claudio Osorio pleads guilty to fraud, money-laundering conspiracies

    Claudio Osorio, the former globe-trotting executive who had headed a Fortune 500 company, faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing millions of dollars from investors in his ill-fated venture to build low-cost housing in Haiti and other developing countries.

    Osorio, a Venezuelan native who once held fund-raisers for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other political heavyweights at his Star Island home, plead guilty to three conspiracy offenses involving wire fraud and money laundering.

    Authorities said Osorio managed to use his connections to lure very prominent people into investing in his company. Among his investors: current and former NBA players Alonzo Mourning, Carlos Boozer, Dwight Howard and Howard Eisley; one of his Star Island neighbors, a Tanzanian businessman and a group of United Arab Emirate investors.

    David Salinas bilks numerous college coaches out of millions of dollars of life savings

    After David Salinas had promised several college coaches in his inner circle stable returns of 6%, 7%, and 8%, these coaches never checked to see how these returns were being achieved until one day when they looked up, everything was gone. All of the education and credentials that David Salinas told his clients about turned out to be one lie after another.

    Nevin Shapiro defrauds investors out of $930 million

    The Miami Hurricanes booster channeled millions of dollars to various football and basketball players of investors’ money. Over $5 million would end up covering Shapiro’s illegal sports gambling debts. He used more than $400,000 in investor funds for floor seats to watch the Miami Heat. About $26,000 per month of investors’ funds went to cover the mortgage payments for Shapiro’s Miami Beach residence valued at $5 million. On June 7, 2011 Shapiro was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Ex-Triton Financial CEO Accused of Using NFL Contacts to Commit $50M Texas Securities Fraud

    Triton Financial, which boasted prominent ties to the sports world—a sponsorship deal with the Heisman Trophy Trust; a three year contract for a PGA Champions Tour Event, the Triton Financial Classic; and a roster of former Heisman winners and NFL players that were employees of the company—was sued in a civil action by the U.S. securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding investors in a multi-million dollar insurance scam. The SEC complaint alleges that Triton and Barton had raised more than $50 million for at least 40 limited partnerships since 2004, and that the firm's insurance vehicle at the center of the complaint, Triton Insurance, had raised roughly $8.4 million from 90 people. Their claims of 32% annual returns were just the tip of a long standing lie this firm perpetrated against trusting investors.

    Affinity Fraud Cases Outside of Sports

    "Church Funding Project" costs faithful investors over $3 Million

    This nationwide scheme primarily targeted African-American churches and raised at least $3 million from over 1000 investing churches located throughout the United States. Believing they would receive large sums of money from the investments, many of the church victims committed to building projects, acquired new debt, spent building funds, and contracted with builders.

    Baptist investors lose over $3.5 Million

    The victims of this fraud were mainly African-American Baptists, many of whom were elderly and disabled, as well as a number of Baptist churches and religious organizations located in a number of states. The promoter (Randolph, who was a minister himself and who is currently in jail) promised returns ranging between 7 and 30%, but in reality was operating a Ponzi scheme. In addition to a jail sentence, Randolph was ordered to pay $1 million in the SEC's civil action.

    More than 1,000 Latin-American investors lose over $400 Million

    The victims sought low risk investments. Instead, the two promoters (who received prison terms of seven and 12 years respectively) misappropriated their funds and lied about how much money was in their accounts.

     

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  2. Where Do I Start?

    by Cory Dobbs, Ed.D. 05-27-2013 10:59 PM Leadership

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    The beginning is the most important part of the work. –Plato, The Republic

    Leadership is a choice, not a position. It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior in high school, a senior in college, or a senior citizen organizing a blood drive. Leadership behavior is a choice. As such, leadership begins with your intentions. Why are you leading?  This question is relevant whether you’re new or experienced, whether it is about situational leadership or the process of leading teammates. 

    Today, we know there is no one correct way to lead. However, it is necessary to account for two possible leadership pathways that are derived from one’s mindset. Your answer to this question will come from either a “self” orientation or an “other” orientation. That is, a self-oriented leader will answer the question differently than does the other-oriented leader. So start by answering this vital question. Probe deeply.
     
    Why answer this question? Clarity.
     
    Clarity will focus your energy and emotion. Clarity will provide you with the conviction to take action—to lead. 
     
    As you know, actions have consequences. Your orientation to leading is significant. That’s because how you think drives the leadership actions you take.
     
    Those with a self-orientation come to view people as a means to an end. Subsequently, decisions and actions taken from the self perspective will be self-serving and likely lead to sub-optimal results.
     
    You certainly can do some good when leading from a self-orientation. But in the end, it’s about you and how your actions—or inactions—benefit you. However, if you lead from an “other” orientation, a relational perspective, and are committed to serving your teammates, the results you produce will be dramatically different. So, which leadership orientation you choose matters.

     

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  3. Playing Offense Now To Avoid Playing Defense Later

    by Kanika Corley 05-26-2013 11:06 PM Trusted Athlete Educator | Athlete Career Development | Legal

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    On draft day, athletes often surround themselves with their family and friends who have supported their professional aspirations. These people are likely celebrating the day their athlete signs a lucrative contract, some of them believing it is their pay day, too. 
     
    Many young athletes tend to hire their friends and family members to help them create and manage their brands. While seemingly innocent, placing this level of trust in those without the proper experience to help manage affairs off the field or court may not be in the young athletes’ best interests. Overlooking liability, athletes who hire acquaintances without first considering legal ramifications may face future lawsuits that can cost them a lot of their earnings.
     
    Contracts Are An Essential Tool
     
    Many people who have an immediate rise to fame forget about the importance of contracts. While looking to family and friends for support and advice on what deals to sign, the athlete typically fails to anticipate the need to ensure those people are either beholden to the athlete to keep quiet about the athlete’s personal life, or even duly advised that their “services” do not entitle them to a stipend, salary, percentage on the athlete’s endorsements or even a shout-out at the ESPYS.
     
    It is prudent for all athletes to think long-term and protect their interests by having anybody, especially friends, sign a contract that specifies the terms and conditions of any services provided.  Although fictionalized, everyone in Vince’s Entourage (which is loosely based on Mark Whalberg’s life) was under contract…even Turtle!
     
    In the sports and entertainment realm, an ongoing example of problems arising from a lack of a written contract comes from an alleged oral agreement in 1991 between Lisa Kudrow and her first manager, Scott Howard. Kudrow orally agreed to have Howard earn a 10% commission of her earnings while playing Phoebe on the hit television show Friends. After firing Howard in 2007, he sued her, alleging that he was still owed commissions from the income Kudrow earned from Friends, after his termination. Howard argued that industry standard allows him to continue to receive such commissions. Although this case is still being litigated, Kudrow may have to pay Howard millions of dollars simply because she did not memorialize any intention to not have Howard make any commission from income earned from Friends. Don’t let this happen to you! 
     
    To Be Enforceable, Contracts Can Be Written Or Verbal
     
    It is important to note that oral contracts can be enforceable. An athlete can unknowingly enter into a contract, too, merely by handing money to someone – perhaps as a tip, loan or gift – who not only believes the money was earned, but that they are entitled to it again and again. This can be a dangerous situation which is easily avoided by writing out the terms of your relationship with those in your inner circle who routinely do things for you. After all, if you get sued, a court may determine that a contract existed and that you not only owe that person money, but now you owe him/her interest for the time payment was withheld. Lisa Kudrow’s case is a clear example of this. 
     

     

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  4. Effect Of The NCAA's Revamped Enforcement Process On Student-Athletes

    by Justin Sievert 05-26-2013 03:29 PM Amateurism

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    In August 2011, NCAA President Mark Emmert met with presidents and chancellors of member institutions to address current issues in intercollegiate athletics. One of the primary points of concern was refocusing the association's enforcement program to provide stronger disincentives for rules-violations. As a result, the NCAA Working Group on Collegiate Model - Enforcement was commissioned and charged with recommending revisions to the current enforcement program. The Working Group made many significant recommendations, including: (1) the introduction of a four-tier violation structure; (2) the adoption of penalty guidelines for core penalties; (3) expansion of the Committee on Infractions; (4) streamlining case review; and (5) providing higher expectations of accountability for both head coaches, athletic directors and institutional presidents or chancellors. These changes, which are effective on August 1, 2013, have been the topic of great discussion among the membership, the media and the general public. However, one important aspect of these changes has been overlooked—what effect will these changes have on current student-athletes?

    One area the Working Group discussed in the report was the fact that institutional penalties that arise from an enforcement case often have a direct or indirect impact on current student-athletes who may have no culpability with the violations found. The impact can come in the form of competition limitations (i.e. postseason bans) and scholarship reductions (i.e. an indirect impact by limiting the number of scholarship student-athletes a program may have on its roster). However, the Working Group also noted that the membership identified that the penalties that have the most deterrent effect are also competition limitations and scholarship reductions.

     

     

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  5. March Madness: What All Student-Athletes Should Take Away From The NCAA Tournament

    by Wesley Mallette 03-22-2013 09:23 PM Amateurism | Athlete Career Development | Special Event

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    Earlier this week, the collegiate sports world learned which of its member institutions were officially selected to play in the NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Championship Tournaments (respectively). And every sports enthusiast that exists inside the universe that is modern day college sports, soon found that anything outside of the realm of college basketball was about to be overshadowed by the annual three-week eclipse that is better known as March Madness.

    March is the time of year when sports pundits launch their on-air courses in “Bracketology” on the networks, radio stations and online outlets, providing them with the platform to pontificate on their predictions. It is also the time of year when office productivity slows to halt with the onset of this unofficial sports holiday. This week, fans toiled over their brackets, entered office pools, and engaged in consistent trash talking (at least until the bracket busting began courtesy of the Harvard Crimson knocking off a highly-touted New Mexico team and Florida Gulf Coast becoming only the seventh #15 seed ever to beat a #2 seed by knocking out Georgetown).
     
    Following the completion of the “First Four” games, 128 teams combined in the Men’s and Women’s Tournaments began their quest to secure college basketball’s most coveted crown. As they embark upon their once-in-a-lifetime journey, perhaps the most valuable learning experience all high school and college student-athletes should take away from watching (or participating in) this process, are the many things March Madness brings to the table that can be applied to their lives both inside and outside the field of competition.

     

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  6. Access Athletes Launches The E-Guide For Professional Athletes: Unlock Your True Potential

    by Matthew Allinson 03-10-2013 11:57 PM AA Site Updates | Education

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    Silver Spring, Maryland – Access Athletes, the rapidly growing, trusted educational resource for elite athletes, announced the launch of its first digital publication entitled, The E-Guide For Professional Athletes: Unlock Your True Potential. This electronic guide (E-Guide) from the trusted athlete educators at Access Athletes is designed to provide professional athletes with the necessary tools to empower themselves and master their careers. In line with the mission of Access Athletes, this E-Guide also provides a road map for its readers to properly leverage their name recognition during and beyond their playing careers.

    The E-Guide For Professional Athletes: Unlock Your True Potential is a free, electronic publication that features expert advice and tips from some of the top pros in the business. Some of the subjects covered in the Inaugural Edition include finance, branding, public relations, philanthropy, and transitioning into your post-athletic career. The E-Guide will be available to download or view as a Flipbook for the next 12 months. Afterward, it will be available for purchase on AccessAthletes.com.

    Rich with content provided courtesy of some of the nation’s leading sports executives, the E-Guide is also the first in a series of publications, programs, and events associated with Access Athletes' Self-Actualized Athlete Program (SAAP). SAAP was created as a vehicle to provide athletes with resources and tools that will enable them to maximize their potential by conquering the art of sound decision making, especially when facing the complex issues involved with operating in the high-profile, high-income professional sports arena.

    “Access Athletes was established to provide elite athletes with key educational and informational resources they can put to use in sports, business, and life," said Matthew Allinson, Founder and CEO of Access Athletes, LLC. "We are fortunate to have a core group of sports professionals on board who are among some of the best and brightest talent in the business, and the advice they provide our constituency is invaluable.

    The E-Guide For Professional Athletes is a first of its kind," Allinson continued. "By applying the lessons offered in the E-Guide, elite athletes will have a chance to better leverage their celebrity status and tap into a world of opportunities that are essentially at their fingertips. Access is key, and here they will have access to some of the most vital information that will help them avoid the pitfalls that have damaged the careers of so many before them.”

     

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  7. Deregulation from Another Perspective: What the NCAA's Streamlined Approach Means to Current and Prospective Student-Athletes

    by Justin Sievert 01-31-2013 11:56 PM Amateurism

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    Earlier this month at the 2013 NCAA Convention, Division I of the NCAA adopted 25 of 26 proposals aimed at establishing a streamlined rulebook with a focus on more meaningful, enforceable, and student-athlete welfare-oriented legislation. NCAA president Mark Emmert stated, "these new rules represent noteworthy progress toward what can only be described as more common sense rules that allow schools more discretion in decision-making...This vote by the Board of Directors refocuses our attention on the things that really matter, the core values of intercollegiate athletics.” The deregulation included several areas of NCAA legislation, including NCAA Bylaw 11 (personnel), 12 (amateurism), 14 (recruiting), 15 (financial aid), and 16 (awards, benefits and expenses). The proposals will be effective on August 1, 2013. While much of the talk surrounding deregulation has focused upon the impact from the perspective of an institution's administrators and coaches, little discussion has occurred on the impact deregulation will have on both prospective and current student-athletes.

    Below is a brief summary of twenty-four of the twenty-five proposals that were adopted at the NCAA Convention, along with my perspective on the effect , if any, these changes will have on prospective and current student-athletes. (Proposal 2-1 addresses the NCAA Constitution and not an Operating Bylaw.)
     
    NCAA Bylaw 11 (Personnel)
    • 11-2: will eliminate the rules defining recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only by a head or assistant coach.

    Student-Athlete Impact: Paired with Proposal 13-3, this Proposal will likely increase the amount of communications between a prospective student-athlete and an institution by allowing any institutional staff member the ability to contact and evaluate recruits. Prospective student-athletes often grow tired of the recruiting process, and this change could potentially further that burden. Off-campus recruiting activities, however, will still need to be conducted by coaches.

    • 11-3-B: will prohibit the live scouting of future opponents except in limited circumstances.
    Student-Athlete Impact: No impact.
    • 11-4: will remove limits on the number of coaches who can recruit off-campus at any one time.
    Student-Athlete Impact: Prospective student-athletes will likely see an uptick of coaches visiting their high schools during selected recruiting periods.
     

     

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  8. Inside the Trainer with Monte Sanders: From the Brotherhood with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to the Mind, Body, and Soul Approach

    by Matthew Allinson 01-10-2013 10:48 PM Interview with a Sports Professional | Nutrition | Training | Sports Psychology

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    Ray Lewis told his teammates during a team meeting on Jan. 2 that “this will be my last ride,” and he’s retiring following the end of the Ravens’ playoff run—which began Sunday with a win against the Indianapolis Colts—closing one of the greatest careers in NFL history.

    Following this announcement by the Ravens veteran middle linebacker, the media unleashed a torrent of articles chronicling Lewis’ legendary 17-year professional career and his larger-than-life legacy. Both fans and pundits alike debated where the 37-year-old, future Hall-of-Famer ranks amongst the greatest linebackers of all time, and whether he is the greatest defensive player ever to play the game. On the heels of Lewis’ revelation also came speculation as to whether this past Sunday marked the last time Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed will ever run out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium again. Reed, 34, who is currently in his 11th season with the Ravens and has tried unsuccessfully to secure a deal with the team for the past two seasons, may join Lewis in not returning to Baltimore when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

    Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have always been inextricably linked throughout their storied football careers. So it’s unsurprising that whenever one is mentioned, so is the other. They have followed similar paths to greatness. They both flourished at the University of Miami, where they became All-Americans. They both were late first-round draft picks selected by the Baltimore Ravens, overlooked because they were said to be too small. They both have amassed gaudy stats and plenty of accolades during their NFL careers, as they have dominated the field of play from their respective positions. They both have been the centerpieces of the Ravens’ vaunted defense that has terrorized offenses around the NFL for more than a decade, standing together as the organization’s franchise players and two of league’s most respected stars. When the curtain drops, they both will be sure-fire first ballot Hall-of-Famers. 
     
    One common element that lies at the core of their success—and it’s one that you won’t read too much about—is the bond they both share with Monte Sanders, or “Mont”, as he is sometimes affectionately known.
     
    Sanders is the CEO and owner of Sanders Optimum Fitness, but he has been much more than just a fitness expert and the celebrity trainer of this legendary duo. He is a workout partner, a close personal friend, a big brother, a confidant, and a trusted advisor. He is one of the secret ingredients behind their ability to play at such a high level for so long—in a league that’s moniker is “Not For Long”—as well as a transformative influence in their lives.
     
    "The day I met Monte,” says the 13-time Pro Bowler and 7-time First-Team All Pro, Ray Lewis, “my life changed not for training perspective, but for a man. When I bumped into a man like that, the training part was easy [be]cause we had the same mindset."
     
    “Spiritually, physically, it’s everything that goes along with life,” Reed told me at the Anquan Boldin Foundation’s Annual Charity Dinner at M&T Bank Stadium, in describing the impact Sanders has had on him. “Mind, body, soul. That’s Monte’s training. He’s my brother. So, I mean his training is for life.  It’s motivating and it’s encouraging. It’s so much that it’s hard to sum it up. It’s still ongoing.”
     
    How the Brotherhood Began 
    He remembered me and I remembered him. And pretty much he was like, “What are you doing tomorrow man?” And I was like, “Well, I’m working out.” And then he said, “I’m working out with you.” So I met him the next day and that was 11 years ago.      –Monte Sanders on Ray Lewis 
    Sanders had been working as manager at a bank when he was laid off and his career came to a screeching halt after he had spent years working his way up the corporate ladder. “And one day, I just cried out to God and I was like, ‘Take over my life. I’m done with Monte. Just use me as you will,’” as Sanders recalled, in an extensive interview with Access Athletes, that he decided to rest it all on faith.
     
    In this time of uncertainty and upheaval, one thing remained constant in Sanders’ life—his love for working out. Sanders turned to the passion he had developed as a young teenager growing up in Savannah, Georgia for solace.
     
    One day when he was working out, one of Sanders’ friends told him he should go get certified. Sanders jumped at the idea, realizing that he could use it to make some money on the side until he figured out what God had in store for him.

     

     

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  9. Something To Think About: Why don’t professional athletes want to do a financial plan?

    by Scott Kaminsky 01-01-2013 11:49 PM Finance

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    I’m always amazed when I hear athletes say that they are not interested in “doing any financial planning.” Athletes to some degree are no different than the average investor in that they want to jump right into the investments and forgo the financial planning process. I do understand why. I don’t agree, but I do understand. It’s human nature to want to jump right into the things that present the possibility of instant gratification. The only problem with this mentality is that more often than not, it leads to financial ruin if done with no plan of action or financial plan. Let’s take a look at a few different situations that operate under the umbrella of a well-constructed plan.

    If we take the time to lift up the hood of any successful business, we will see a well-oiled machine that began with a prudent plan of action. What are the short-term goals of this company? What are the long-term goals of this company? What will they do if their plan runs into a stumbling block along the way? Is there a backup plan to enable this business to continue in the face of unexpected adversity? Before any successful business opens its doors, I can assure you a well-thought-out, prudent business plan had been constructed. More often than not, the businesses that fail do so due to the lack of a concrete business model. Either a poorly executed business model was prepared, or more likely, they just wing it. 

    Unfortunately, too many individuals in today’s world treat their finances in the very same manner – they either attempt to construct a financial plan with no professional help or just wing it – and it’s no surprise we see the financial hardships that are far too prevalent in today’s society.
     
    Take a look at your home or the building where you work. These buildings were constructed from a blueprint. These blueprints were drawn up after many hours of well-thought-out ideas that were discussed between the builder and the owner of the home or office building. Without these blueprints, one of a few scenarios would occur: either the rooms would be the wrong size, the electrical system would fail causing a fire in the building, or worse yet, the building might collapse. The bottom line is that without a blueprint, construction would be impossible.

     

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  10. How Sports Inspires: Colts’ Coach Chuck Pagano on “Living in a Vision and Not Living in Circumstances”

    by Wesley Mallette 11-11-2012 03:54 PM Guest Contributors | Motivation

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    This is a guest article from Danyelle Sargent, who is an anchor at the NFL Network.

    Inspiration. 

    It is a word that holds incredible meaning and has the ability to motivate and inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
     
    By now we are all aware of Indianapolis Colts’ Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia. As the Colts prepared to take on the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, November 4, 2012, Coach Pagano visited his team for the first time since having to leave the team in early October, and as he started to undergo his second round of treatment for leukemia, Pagano spoke to and inspired his team.
     
    His words and presence were powerful. The result? First-year quarterback, Andrew Luck, threw for an NFL rookie-record 433 yards and helped lead his team to victory. The players’ comments were equally impressive. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said, “As a team, we know that probably his best medicine is for us to continue to win.” And defensive stalwart, Dwight Freeney, simply stated, “Forget the game, it was just good to see him on his feet.”
     

     

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