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Why so many athletes eventually seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Many Ohio residents are aware of the enormous salaries earned by the nation's top athletes. While quite a few people envy those levels of income, not many are sympathetic when an athlete faces financial ruin. It is interesting to take a closer look at why so many professional athletes end up filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The reasons may come as a surprise, due to the fact that they are not vastly different from the reasons why many average earners find themselves in the same financial position.

It should also be noted that the professional lifespan for an athlete averages only six years. While some of the biggest names in professional sports will stretch their career far longer through endorsements, sportscasting gigs and other revenue streams, many lesser known players will need to find a way to make their contract earnings last for far longer than their time under the bright lights. In addition, professional athletes are often placed under expectations of living a certain type of lifestyle, one that can quickly drain their wealth and leave them poorly positioned for the future.

One of the biggest financial issues that face many pro athletes is pressure to help their family members. Once they reach the big time, many athletes feel a responsibility to give their loved ones a hand up. While this is an admirable goal, being overly charitable can lead to a scenario in which the benefactor ends up with no financial security of his or her own.

Other pressures that can lead to bankruptcy are feeling the need to keep up with the lifestyle of others, divorce and poor investments. Many in Ohio can sympathize with those circumstances. Without the proper financial education and training, it is just as easy for a professional athlete to be overwhelmed by finances as it is for a "regular" person. In both cases, seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide a path back to stability, and a chance to move on to future success.

Source:, "What You Have in Common With Bankrupt Pro Athletes", Dan Kadlec, June 10, 2016

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