Shaq Breaks The Mold On Career Transition With Investments

Far too often we hear about athletes making financial mistakes; trusting the wrong people, making bad investments, etc. that lead to going broke shortly after his or her playing career comes to a close. However, there are many success stories of athletes making more money after a playing career thanks to savvy business decisions that unfortunately do not grab the same headlines.

One of the most successful career transitions has been former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq played for six teams over his 19-year NBA career after being drafted first overall in the 1992 NBA Draft. After retiring in 2011, he transitioned from professional basketball player to a career as an investor and businessman.

His business portfolio is quite impressive, having invested in various businesses ranging from fast-food restaurants to the tech space. At one point he owned 155 Five Guys restaurants (which was equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the company), 17 Auntie Anne’s, a Krispy Kreme Franchise, and a few other service industry establishments. Additionally, he was an early investor in both Google and Apple, which safe to say, have been pretty good investment decisions.

O’Neal’s investment decisions have progressed over time. After signing his first professional contract, O’Neal blew $1 million in under an hour. This is more money than many will see in their lifetime. His investment strategies and overall perspective of money changed drastically. He reportedly saves 75 percent of his earnings and lives off the other 25 percent. That said, he made over $280 million during his NBA career and is said to be earning between $20 and $30 million through various ventures in retirement.

Nearly 60 percent of former NBA players go broke within five years of leaving the NBA, so how can future athletes experience the same success as O’Neal? In an article for CNBC Make It, he described is two-part approach to his investing strategy.

Do Your Due Diligence

Former athlete or not, you should never invest in something without conducting research before. According to O’Neal, one of the most important things you can do is to study what other successful business people are doing and follow their lead.

Playing in the bright lights of Los Angeles has its perks. Prior to investing in Google, O’Neal connected with many business people who sat courtside at Lakers games. They approached O’Neal after games with investment opportunities. The way he tells the story of investing in Google comes from being in the right place at the right time. He told the story in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

Do It For The People

It is no secret that O’Neal’s first big investment was a big win. Not many people are lucky enough to have one major investment hit, especially one that essentially fell into his lap. One of his major investment lessons was learned from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “invest based on if it’s going to change people’s lives.”

O’Neal said, “When I invest now, it’s never about the big hit for me. As a father and businessman, it’s all about setting an example for people. I’m pretty set in my ways. I’ve been there and done everything. And so, now, I just want to create new partnerships, create new friends and whatever happens, happens.”

Some of his investments have enlisted the help of his recognizance as a brand partnership. Two examples of this are FORTO Coffee and Ring home security. Both are products that O’Neal used prior to investing and ultimately becoming part of the brand’s advertising going forward.

Not only can former athletes transitioning to a life after sports follow Shaquille O’Neal’s advice, but those looking for investment strategies and unsure where to start can consider these two tips.

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