As a young coach in the NFL, the last thing Vance Joseph had on his mind was financial planning.
"I spent my first 10 years out of college as a pro player and a college coach. I then joined the 49ers in the NFL, which brought my wife, Holly, and me to the San Francisco area,” says Vance Joseph, now the Defensive Coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. “I wasn’t making much money, and we were living in a pretty expensive place. Between the demands of my new job and ensuring we were making ends meet, planning for our financial future was just not on our radar.”
Some of the other pro coaches Vance knew helped to change that. They suggested he meet with Andy Garver, a Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and a Sports & Entertainment Advisor at the firm.
“Andy told me I needed to pay myself first, even if it was just a little, and do it regularly. Holly and I agree that it was the best financial advice we have ever received.” The Josephs worked with Andy to establish a budget that included making regular deposits into their savings. Vance credits this step — making savings a habit, even if the amount isn’t that much or if it means tightening your belt for a little while — for creating the foundation of their long-term financial wellbeing. Not only are the Josephs still committed to savings, but they have instilled this same discipline in their two children.
Of course, robust financial planning and money management involve much more than a savings plan. It can be a very complex world, even a little intimidating, and there’s a lot at stake. How do you balance expenses and savings? How much should you invest and in what types of investments? How can you secure your children’s education? What strategies can you use to minimize taxes? How much house can you afford, and how can you finance the purchase of it? How much do you need to retire? How should you manage and coordinate your various employee benefits to serve you best? When you layer in the added complexity of specific professional sports contract terms and various college/university/league/franchise retirement programs, having a knowledgeable advisor to help you design a clear personal financial playbook becomes an imperative.
"Others had tried and failed to explain it all to me and Holly," notes Vance. "Good coaches take complicated ideas and distill them down into simple directions for their players. Andy did that for us. He made it easy for us to understand. Holly especially liked that he wasn't about any 'get rich quick' schemes. We both trusted him from the get-go."
Garver and his junior partners, Mark Melichar, Senior Financial Advisor and Hunter James, Financial Advisor, always emphasize planning and establishing a well thought out financial plan in their work with college and NFL coaching staff professionals. That includes setting budgets, navigating the various retirement plans and programs offered by each school or pro franchise, and planning for the education of their children. It can also mean thinking about mortgage options and home-buying strategies; the team can provide access to a Bank of America Wealth Management Lending Officer who can discuss Bank of America's offerings. “Investing is certainly important, but in many ways, we create more value for our clients through all the other planning and financial management work we do with them,” believes Garver. “I can bring my experience, the support of my team, and access to the investing resources of Merrill and banking capabilities of Bank of America to bear on helping Vance and his family.”
Vance and Holly agree. They think of Andy as more than a money investor — to them he’s a money manager, a friend and even a bit of a life coach. For example, the Josephs have moved several times over the past 15 years, and not just around the corner: from San Francisco to Houston to Cincinnati to Miami to Denver and, most recently, to Phoenix. At each move, Andy tapped a Bank of America Wealth Management Lending Officer to help them think through their various options involved when moving from city to city, including the type of house they could afford and what financing would work best for their situation. Andy worked with the Wealth Management Lending Officer to help manage the paperwork that comes with a mortgage and to help secure attractive terms.
A career in professional sports is very different from one in corporate America. “I’ve been very lucky to have an advisor who really understands that,” says Vance. “As a former coach himself, and with other coaches as clients, Andy has in-depth knowledge that I can count on. He gets the stresses we are under. He understands the possible career trajectory for someone in my shoes. He’s helped me make the most out of each opportunity I have been given.”
Having a thoughtful plan, reviewing it regularly and adjusting it as circumstances change have given Vance and Holly peace of mind. “Our plan allows us to sleep at night, even when stock-market losses are in the headlines, or through job changes. I reach out to Andy, or he reaches out to me, and he talks us through where we are, so we’re always comfortable that we are on track.”
“I look forward to many more years in this sport that I love,” muses Vance. “But the work I’ve done with Andy over the past 15+ years has given me a very powerful gift: the freedom that comes with knowing that whenever my career comes to its end, my wife and I are financially ready for that next chapter.”
Merrill offers comprehensive services with an understanding of the unique positions of men and women in the sports industry:
|Preserve income and assets — thoughtful planning and insurance solutions that can help protect the things you care most about — your family, business and assets|
|Personalized investment strategies that address unpredictable and/or large sporadic income streams|
|Tax minimization strategies|
|Manage everyday cash and access liquidity — help with planning for your income and cash flow needs, including expense management and budgeting|
|Help figuring out multiple income streams, compensation for use of name, image and likeness, early in career — even while in college|
|Access to Bank of America loans and mortgages — realize borrowing power to fund your needs, from buying a first home to funding unexpected opportunities (i.e., vacation home, securities-based lending, customized lending, custom mortgages)|
|Plan for a fulfilling retirement and help with understanding league-sponsored pension plan characteristics and league-specific 401(k) benefits|
|Give back to loved ones and community — our Private Wealth Services group will work with you to determine the legacy you want to create for yourself, your family and chosen causes|
|To continue the conversation, reach out to your advisor.|
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