MyProPlan is a new financial planning tool created by the PFA Charity and Pro Sport Wealth Management to help footballers manage their money. Designed specifically for footballers, MyProPlan will help players budget, save and learn the basics of sound financial planning. We caught up with Managing Director of Pro Sport Wealth, Gareth Griffiths to find out how MyProPlan could help players at every stage of their careers..
Hi Gareth! When is the best time for players to start auditing their finances?
The earlier you start financial planning the easier it gets. You'll start to build habits, which ultimately put you into a good place for the future because you've already got the financial foundations of how to plan and budget. You'll also develop an understanding of what your objectives are long-term, which might change to accommodate changing priorities in your life or sudden disruptions like COVID-19.
I've found it's never too late to start managing your finances, but it can be more difficult if you try and pick things up halfway through. Sometimes people are reluctant to make sacrifices or build contingency into their budgets, but recent events show us just how important those considerations are.
What's the best way for players to use MyProPlan?
MyProPlan will suggest where a player's finances should be, based on their circumstances. The first thing to do is the initial audit, running through three stages to get an understanding of where their finances currently are.
One of our most important objectives when working with players is making sure they're saving or spending their money on things that will benefit them longer term, so the budgeting tool on MyProPlan is key. It's a very clear format, and identifies certain areas in terms of strengths and weaknesses, in the same way players would analyse their own performance after a game.
Footballers are very familiar with monitoring things like their food intake and it would be a fantastic for their finances if they can apply that same discipline to the way they see financial planning.
Why is MyProPlan beneficial for players?
When players first start coming into money they quite often want to buy things like cars and houses, and MyProPlan's calculators will give them information to help them figure out what they can afford.
A lot of players in general will have their highest earnings while playing football so it's important for them to set financial objectives so their earnings can help sustain them in the future after football. This will also help keep them prepared for any unexpected events and income changes.
MyProPlan will help players work out the cost of debt over a period of time if they want to make expensive purchases, and as they get more experienced they can start to think about optimisation to build their wealth.
Our hope is that using MyProPlan will teach players better financial behaviours. This means making potential savings instead of being too extravagant, and things like buying a less expensive car so they'll have more money available in the future if they find themselves unable to bring in the same income.
How can MyProPlan help footballers facing financial difficulties?
Many players have complex financial situations, and may have dependants, property or be struggling financially. The algorithms used in MyProPlan will highlight priorities for players depending on the stage of their career, and helps them consider whether they can carry on as they are.
For a lot of players it is critically important to make lifestyle adjustments when circumstances change, and this tool will help identify things they can amend such as overspending on none essentials. Sometimes a precarious financial situation can limit your options but using MyProPlan can be a call to action, and encourage players to get in touch with the PFA and seek some advice.
When should players consider thinking about financial optimisation?
Once you have addressed your foundations as without good foundations all plans can be very fragile. Building a diversified investment portfolio, which includes property and other things that will give you returns in both appreciation of capital and yield is probably the wisest move. Players might need to keep money coming in later down the line, especially if their livelihoods are threatened by unprecedented situations like the Coronavirus pandemic.
Some might need to flip their philosophy around and start thinking about investments that generate income, instead of just what increases in value. So many things depend on the individual circumstances of the player, so when they're at the optimisation stage, it's important that they take professional advice to ensure that they're making choices that are right for them.