After 18 years and a very successful career in the National Football League, the Denver Broncos’ star quarterback, Peyton Manning, retired in 2016 at the age of 39. We wish him well and hope he made the preparations needed to enjoy a long, comfortable retirement. If he did, he’ll be in the minority. Research shows that an estimated 60% of retired NFL players go broke within five years of retirement; nearly 16% declare bankruptcy ( &

Fortunately, there’s a lot people can do to avoid that fate. While most of us won’t be retiring as early as Mr. Manning, retirees still have a lot of the same worries as pro athletes. Here’s the advice we would’ve given Peyton if he were our client and friend:

Dear Peyton,

Congratulations on your retirement! You’ve had an amazing career and I’m glad you got to go out on a high note. I’m excited to see what you have planned next. I also want to give you some advice and I hope you find it helpful.

1. Don’t Make Any Sudden Decisions

Take some time to process the transition away from a high-octane career and think about what you want out of retirement. Stop and smell the roses for a while and don’t make any major decisions about your future until you feel comfortable with your new phase of life. Many people who come from high-pressure, competitive jobs feel the urge to do something, anything when they retire. You might be tempted to fill the void by rushing into a new business, partnership, or buying expensive toys or real estate. Don’t, just yet.

2. Don’t Jump Into Businesses Or Investments You Don’t Understand

As a guy with money, you’re going to be surrounded by people pushing every kind of business, product, and investment there is. Don’t get taken in by the hype; think very carefully before you put your life savings into something you don’t completely understand, especially if the person asking is a friend or relative. Caring about someone doesn’t mean you should put your future at risk. You’ve worked hard to get where you are; don’t threaten it by taking too many risks now. Always remember, anything that sounds too good to be true usually is.

3. Work With A Team Of Professionals

As a professional athlete, you’re used to working with the best in your business. Expect the same from your financial team. Don’t just go with the guy you went to school with, the one your buddy works with, or the one offering you the moon.

Talk to a lot of professionals and look for ones who want to get to know you and your dreams before making suggestions, answer your questions honestly, admit to uncertainty, and don’t make a lot of promises. Pick the professionals that are willing to ask you the hard questions and tell you the difficult truths you may not want to hear. Then listen to them.

Let your team be your barrier against hype, promises, information overload, and anyone looking for a handout. Turn to them when you have ideas or questions, or need to talk out a decision.

4. Have A Strategy For Retirement

You’ve got a long retirement ahead of you, one that’s likely to last 40 years or more. Though you’ve amassed a fortune most of us would envy, it’s not going to be enough if you don’t think ahead and make prudent choices. You should be thinking about the lifestyle you can afford in retirement and making sure your money lasts as long as you need it. Have a strategy for good and bad markets and remember that long-term investors have to cultivate patience. Don’t forget about healthcare!

How Can We Help?

Even if you’re not Peyton Manning, most of the advice above still applies. Retirement is a challenging transition and it pays to get it right. We work closely with our clients long before and after retirement to understand their dreams, and help create personalized retirement strategies that take them where they want to go. If you, or someone you know, have questions about retirement, give us a call at 913.402.6099.

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John P. Chladek, MBA, CFP® is the President of Chladek Wealth Management, LLC, a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm specializing in helping families and couples who are not yet retired realize their financial goals. For more information, visit

All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of John P. Chladek, MBA, CFP®, President, Chladek Wealth Management, LLC. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and we make no representations as to its accuracy or completeness. All information and ideas should be discussed in detail with your individual advisor prior to implementation. Investment Advisory services are offered by Chladek Wealth Management, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm in the State of Kansas. The presence of this web site on the Internet shall in no direct or indirect way be construed or interpreted as a solicitation to sell or offer to sell investment advisory services to any residents of any state other than the State of Kansas or where otherwise legally permitted.

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