Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate was recently referred to as one of the best bargains in the NFL and his new coach Matt Patricia called him one of the best. "Once the ball is in his hands, forget about it," said Patricia. "It''s a big problem."
While Tate seems to be a big problem for the opposition, he's setting himself up so that he never becomes a problem for himself. With so many athletes going broke soon after retirement, Tate is preparing for life after football, investing in brands that he believes in and putting enough cash aside to last him a long time.
I recently spoke with Tate about his strategy for off-field investments and players saving money as he prepares to return for another season in the NFL.
What is your current portfolio of companies you're invested in and what is your role beyond investment?
Tate: One of them is called NoSweat and it's a hat liner that prevents you from sweating all over your face. I'm a part owner, but also an ambassador. My job is to just really enjoy the brand.
The main thing for me is that a product has to be something I actually like to use and something I don't have to sell myself on. I use NoSweat at the golf course and the football field, and it works.
Another one I'm invested in is called Gamebreaker, and it's a soft shell helmet mainly used in 7-on-7 tournaments. Now, we're getting involved in soccer and women's lacrosse where they currently don't even wear helmets. The biggest thing with Gamebreaker is that it helps protect the helmet wearer and even a non-helmet wearer who makes contact. We figure if we can help stop some of the head trauma, that some protection is better than none.
What motivated you to get involved with investing in opportunities while in the NFL?
Tate: First of all, I find it important to diversify my portfolio and never have all money in one place. As I got my first 3-to-4 years in the NFL and signed a second contract, I felt I had some wiggle room to take minor chances and I found some companies I really liked and respected, and loved where they were heading, so I started learning as much as I could on them and when the time was right I was very fortunate to invest in those companies.
Why do you think it is that so many athletes go broke so quick after playing in the league and what can be done to curb the depressing statistics?
Tate: When I was coming out I heard 75% of guys were broke 3-5 years after being out of the league. I will say the NFL is trying to help us out as best as they can with symposiums and advisors.
I think guys go broke because they don't understand completely how much money they have. They see the bottom line on ESPN and they think a guy has $20 million right now when he signs a contract. First off, a lot of times you don't even see all that money unless you play out the full contract. Second, taxes take dang near half of it. They don't understand that.
Being an athlete you're always on TV, people are always using these analogies with you and comparing you to other people. We are very prideful at times and feel like we need the nice jewelry or clothes and we feel like we need to compete.
There's nothing wrong with it, but you just have to understand how much money you have. Once your money is put on display, you also have family and friends always looking for something. I hear so many times where guys' parents feel like they are owed a house or car or whatever it may be, and that's simply not the case.
If you really think about it, the average career is 3.75 years. As a 21 year old, that means you're done with your career that brings in most of your money by the age of 25. That's a lot of life you have to live afterwards on that 3 years of football.
Any thoughts on the recent cryptocurrency boom and are you tempted at all to get in on it at all?
Tate: I've been hearing about it for about a year now, and I just never got into it. I was too scared and always figured by the time I heard about it I would be late of the party.
Finally, 4 or 5 months ago I put a small amount of money into it and I made a little bit of money. But I've heard of guys turning $100,000 into millions and I wish I would've taken the chance, but right now I don't need to be aggressive with my spending.