It must be hard to think about anything other than the present when you are a Premier League footballer. With their lifestyle, it must surely be a bubble that they live in at all times. But professional sport is no different to any other profession in that plans should be made not only for the present, but definitely the future, too.
If you want an example of this, just talk to Andy Wilkinson.
The Stoke City defender was in the prime of his career when on 14th February 2015 he was hit in the temple area of the head by the ball during The Potters 4-1 defeat in the FA Cup at Blackburn Rovers. At the time it looked painful, but something that can happen as a part of a fast-flowing sport. Andy had played the rest of the second half at Blackburn with blurred vision - but the player knew something wasn’t right, and after visiting various specialists was told that “it could be a career ending injury”. It was.
A year after the Blackburn game, Wilkinson had to announce his retirement from the game that had been his life - aged just 31.
“Obviously family has always meant everything to me, and since my retirement from football this has made me appreciate them even more”, he acknowledges, before adding “but it was so important that I had a career and an income to fall back on, too, both in the short and long term”.
And that’s where Andy’s interest in property came in. He invested in property development whilst still a footballer and has now owned a property development company called No.28 Properties for a number of years. The name of the company being named after the shirt he wore with pride for so long at Stoke City.
He states, “I’ve always been pretty sensible with me money”, then adds “but I did make a few mistakes when I was younger i.e investing in a nightclub, which I do believe was a blessing in disguise as it made me look at what was a better investment and I’ve always had a passion for houses and the design and building of them since I got my first ever property - and property developing eventually went from an interest to a career.”
I asked Andy about public perception of footballers……
“Obviously, from the outside looking in, being a professional footballer is like winning the lottery. And yes, it can be like that. But for many players, they aren’t earning much more than the average UK wage. It’s only at the top end when you get the big money coming in – and even then, young players may not realise that tax and national insurance contributions can take up a lot of that wage. It’s all about being careful and planning ahead”.
With such vast salaries and signing-on fees around, why is there a need to plan ahead and be thrifty and careful?
“Well, careers in football are short”, answers Andy, “I think I heard that the average football career is well short of a decade. So, whatever you earn or whatever your lifestyle is – it’s a very short career. And the money will soon run out if you haven’t got alternative employment after leaving the game.
Some players go into coaching or the media, but sometimes that isn’t well paid or anywhere near the wage they were on, and they are very competitive careers. Because a footballer’s career is so short, their finances are packed into a very short space of time. What you earned as a Premier League or Championship player when you were 23 might not mean too much when you are 33 and have been retired due to injury for a few years……”
There are a number of famous footballers who have invested in property. Names such as Robbie Fowler, and more recently England players such as Dele Alli and Marcus Ashford have done just that.
So why property? I asked Andy Wilkinson why should anyone, including professional footballers/high-net-worth individuals, look to invest their hard-earned into bricks and mortar?
“I think that it’s never too early to think about your finances. I do think you should enjoy the money to some extent but always have an eye on future, and speaking personally, property has been a good financial investment to take on for me. Some put money into an ISA, pensions, or invest in many wild and wacky ways – but I have always appreciated property as well as investing in it, and I really enjoy working in that sector.
I study the market daily to see what properties are selling for what price, I do like the idea of being in charge of my investments, or using someone like Rockett Home Rentals who I trust and who have an outstanding reputation. Using reputable experts minimises the risk and can also give you some control, too. Nothing is ever guaranteed when investing, but you can reduce the risks.
Bill Rockett from Rockett Home Rentals takes this further
"It seems that UK investors are continuing to put their money into property. I know that Brexit and national politics are at front of everyone’s minds at the moment, but it seems that the UK property market has remained strong, especially in cities and areas with a good reputation for property investment success. Some areas of the country have suffered with respect to house prices, but locally and slightly further afield it seems to be okay.
I have also feel that the property market is more stable than other markets. As a landlord you will receive regular rental payment from the tenants and you also have contracts to protect you, too. This is all built into our fully managed service. It’s all about the properties that you choose to invest in and the people who we find and select as high-class tenants.
There seems to have been a growing demand for rental properties as families, couples and individuals are unable to get on the property ladder, and this makes property investment more attractive for people such as Andy. There seems to be an increase in tenant demand to rent, while the number of properties available for rent is falling".
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