Ryan Broyles is a former NFL player who only played in the league for three seasons and started just a few games. But he has a story that serves as a lesson. Despite making millions in his limited time as a pro, Broyles lives on a strict budget after being not-so-thrifty in his younger years.
The wide receiver’s capacity to spend money recklessly in college cost Broyles a lot. So he learned from the experience and became more fiscally responsible as he started making real money in the NFL.
Ryan Broyles’ NFL career
Broyles was a four-year wide receiver at Oklahoma, recording 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns in 48 games in college. That was good enough for the Lions to take him with the 54th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
But he wound up appearing in just 21 games for Detroit, including six starts. He had 32 receptions for 420 yards and two touchdowns in his limited playing time. His short NFL career ended on Sept. 1, 2015, when the Lions cut him three years into his four-year, $3.6 million contract.
Broyles’ pre-NFL money problems
Broyles had financial issues before his NFL contract, as CNBC writes. He recalls paying everything late — “cell phone bills, electric bills, car payments” — when he was in college. He says he “didn’t know anything about credit,” and he “didn’t really care.”
Broyles didn’t know how those bad habits would negatively affect his credit score until he got to the NFL and teams did credit checks as part of the draft process. When teams started pulling his credit report, “it was terrible,” according to Broyles. Then, he realized he had to “wise up.” The wide receiver started looking into how to improve his financial habits.
The 20-year-old personal finance book Rich Dad Poor Dad “changed my whole mindset.” The book claims that making a lot of money doesn’t make someone rich. “It’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep,” according to author Robert Kiyosaki. Broyles says the book’s lessons of “making your money work for you by investing it and acquiring income-generating assets” made him realize he had to change.
Ryan Broyles’ new frugal lifestyle
Upon signing his multimillion-dollar contract with the Lions — $1.1 million in guarantees — the first thing Broyles did was pay off all of his debt. Then, he set up automatic payments for his bills, ensuring he wouldn’t be late paying them anymore.
Another aspect of Broyles’ new financial discipline was having him and his wife live off of about $60,000 a year. He says they don’t have cable, don’t go out to eat often, and he pays off his credit cards every month to ensure he doesn’t get into debt again. The other part of Broyles’ improved financial philosophy was investing.
He says he “read about things like real estate financing. Stocks. Bonds, Interest rates. Compound Interest. P/E ratios.” And after the $60,000 or so he lives off of annually, he puts the rest of his money into investments and retirement accounts. He thinks about how he can never work again and make the money he made playing football last for the rest of his life.
According to Broyles, his “goal was to play 10 years in the NFL. But financially, I planned like I wouldn’t make it past the next 10 minutes,” and that mindset is paying off for the former Sooner. Today, he tries to use his experience to help others, speaking to teens about financial responsibility.