How Frugal NFL Player Brandon Copeland Teaches Others How to Save

One of the NFL’s smartest players is the New York Jets’ Brandon Copeland. Copeland possesses a killer Wonderlic score and an Ivy League education.

But aside from being one of the brighter players in the league, Copeland is giving back by helping others to become as successful with money as he has been. Here’s how he’s doing it. 

Brandon Copeland’s educational background

The Jets’ linebacker recorded five sacks last season, but the wealth of knowledge he’s sharing has nothing to do with his accomplishments on the field.

Brandon Copeland attended the University of Pennsylvania. It was there Copeland would attend the Wharton School of Business. 

Wharton has quite a reputation as a source as an institution of higher learning. The U.S. News and World Report named Wharton as having the number one full-time MBA program in the nation for its 2020 annual rankings. Notable alumni include

  • Former CBS CEO Laurence Tisch
  • Former Pfizer CEO Edmund Pratt
  • Automobile market research innovator J.D. Power
  • McGraw-Hill International publishing magnate Harold McGraw III

Studying at such a prestigious school clearly gave Brandon Copeland the tools to have higher than average financial wherewithal. Even after starting his NFL career in 2016, he chose to apply that professionally. 

Brandon Copeland’s financial background

In 2017, a CNBC report mentioned Brandon Copeland worked at a Wall Street firm known as Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers in the offseason from March through June. Despite his high profile status as a professional athlete, Copeland proved his worth on his own merits. Firm founder George Weiss described Copeland this way: 

“He’s got talent, and I know this because we’d hire him in a second when his NFL career is over.”

In 2017, Copeland told ESPN that he places a premium on saving his salary. He said he saved up to 60% of his post-tax salary. He described his financial approach thusly: 

“Every check gets divided up, not necessarily like that, but I always put a limit on this year, as soon as we get back in April. Now anything that I have in my account the year previous, I don’t touch it…I put it toward investments or whatever, but livingwise I don’t touch it. I live off what I make in the spring in terms of OTA checks and all that type of stuff and live off this active season.”

Copeland makes much more than the average person as most pro athletes do. He’s resisted severe temptation by holding on to a large chunk of his money. His significant education, financial acumen, and propensity to save money positions Copeland as the perfect person to pass his knowledge on saving to others. 

Teaching others how to save

This summer, Copeland taught a class at the University of Pennsylvania he dubbed “Life 101.” According to Copeland, the class provides information on “the realities of life we all have to deal with.” Copeland instructs students on investments, how to build a retirement fund, and how to build good credit scores. He’s teaching the class with Dr. Brian Peterson, the director of the University’s Makuu Black Cultural Center. 

While Copeland doesn’t claim to be an expert, as mentioned above he does have significant experience saving. He’s teaching students the principles of making sound financial decisions, including the basics of savings, what to look for in your investments, and the importance of not spending money you do not have or make. 

Copeland is in a rare position of being a successful, wealthy athlete who has taken control over his own finances. While most of his students may never make what he does, that makes it almost more important for them to understand the foundations of financial literacy. With Brandon Copeland’s help, they just might.