The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a significant impact on economies across the globe. Therefore, it’s more important now more than ever for people to take control of their personal finances.
Gareth Griffiths is a former professional footballer and Managing Director of Pro Sport Wealth Management, a Chartered independent financial services company who specialise in helping athletes manage their money. Gareth is passionate about ensuring footballers are financially literate, he has worked alongside the organisation to create MyProPlan, a brand new tool which will help players assess, control and plan their finances. We caught up with Gareth to find out how MyProPlan can help footballers and former players to better protect their incomes
Gareth, why have you created MyProPlan?
Finance can be a very dry subject, but good financial literacy is so important especially when something unexpected, like the current pandemic, can have such a dramatic impact on our ability to earn.
We've been looking at how to communicate with players about money in a way that will interest them and improve their level of financial planning awareness. We realised we needed to engage them in an interactive manner, rather than just having someone talk at them all the time
MyProPlan gives them a way to explore well-researched information in a style they’re familiar with and will hopefully be able to provide solutions when they have questions about their financial health.
Using MyProPlan, players can conduct an audit on their existing finances, discover any shortcomings and highlight areas to concentrate on which will help them identify ways to improve their financial health and wellbeing.
How does MyProPlan work?
MyProPlan will be available to all players past and present, via the PFA website and has been designed to be mobile and tablet friendly. There will be lots of information and relevant calculators that will provide a basic understanding of financial planning.
Players can enter their details and complete a financial health check and then be able to work out budgets and create savings goals based on their income and aspirations. They can use the tool anonymously but if they're happy for their data to be securely stored, it will give them an easy way to keep track of their financial goals if they need to amend their budgets/circumstances quickly.
Why is a tool like this necessary?
The current climate shows the need for solid financial planning that includes contingency budgeting. Tools like MyProPlan help players to prepare for the future in a clear and simple way.
In the past, financial communication for players has been about going into a club with a flipchart and PowerPoint, which can easily fall flat. MyProPlan is intuitive and has been especially developed with footballers in mind. It uses software that has been vigorously tested and feedback from players and former players who have seen it has been fantastic.
How did you get involved with the PFA?
I was a Delegate and Management Committee member for many years. Pro Sport has been a partner of the PFA since 2011 so we have a long-standing relationship with the organisation, and we've been planning this tool together for some time.
We are available via PFA Delegates to do club visits to talk about finances, and this tool provides another opportunity for players to access a valuable resource provided by the PFA Charity.
On a personal level, I have been a beneficiary of the PFA with great support while I worked on my degree, post-graduate and financial qualifications. I'm very grateful they gave me the opportunity to further my education and build a career in a new industry
Why is financial planning especially important for footballers?
The financial problems some players have had in the past are well documented and our main objectives with this tool were to prevent those things happening again. We want to empower players so they can investigate their own financial health. COVID-19 has also highlighted the volatility of a football career and how suddenly a footballer's income can change.
MyProPlan is in no way intended to replace professional advice but will give players enough information to make informed decisions themselves, instead of relying solely on financial advisers, agents and family and friends.
It will also encourage them to question things, decide what their financial objectives are and work out how to get there. It will give them quantifiable numbers so they can identify how much financially they save each month, and also explain things like cost of debt and investment risks.
There are so many things to explore. MyProPlan can be used on the go so we’re confident the players find it beneficial. We’re hoping it will encourage footballers to raise a conversation with their representatives to really talk about securing their financial future.