I’ve never met a financial advisor who didn’t say he chose to get into the game because he wanted to help players. Sure, the money’s nice, and being part of the NFL is a great way to escape the mundane nature of a ‘regular job,’ but most wealth managers I’ve found are genuine.
This certainly extends to Jeff Glusman and Austin Murphy. The Florida-based duo — Jeff is in Jupiter, Austin in Bal Harbour — recently moved to SunTrust from Merrill Lynch. I caught up with them recently to discuss their move and other matters related to their work and the game.
What prompted the move to SunTrust?
Austin: “It’s a company with over 100 years in existence and it’s publicly traded on the NYSE. That provides safety for our clients’ assets, and that’s important. But also, SunTrust’s specialty group in sports and entertainment has a 30-year record of success in catering to athletes, and we wanted to bring that to our clients during their career and into retirement.”
Most people that work with athletes want to get into the high-energy world of agents and athlete representation. Why did each of you choose finance?
Jeff: “My love for the markets started at an early age, from stock market competitions in high school to reading the Wall Street Journal and The Economist religiously to stay up to speed as I grew up. But the decision for me came with the (stock market) bubble in 2000 and losing my personal wealth to the point of not trusting others to do it for me going forward.  So I followed family advice and joined what was a great training program. Working with athletes makes it especially rewarding.”
Austin: “I’ve always had two major interests: working in sports and being able to make a difference in people’s lives. Wealth management allows me to accomplish both. My friends always say, ‘well, why didn’t you become an agent?’ My response is twofold. One, I’m not limited to just one sport as a financial advisor, so I can easily work with NFL, NBA, MLB and any other professional athletes. Two, as a financial advisor, when I get a client, it is for their whole life, not just their playing career.
There’s no shortage of financial advisors and wealth managers in the game. What separates you two from all the others? 
Jeff: “I’ve been blessed to be in wealth management for over 17 years, and I think my resume speaks for itself. What’s more, I have spoken at the Senior Bowl seven of the last 10 years as the financial literacy keynote speaker, and I have had countless professional athletes as clients, and none have gone broke or bankrupt with my guidance. What’s more, I’ve got a perfectly clean (Form) U4 through two of the worst financial crises in market history.”
Austin: “I’m 27, with experience working for a professional sports team (Austin was with the Miami Heat for the 2012-13 season) as well as having a law degree. Though I’m young, I think long-term, and I have the potential to work with my clients for a very long time. Also, I take pride in working for some of the most elite athletes in the world. That’s part of what makes my job special.”
I think a lot of people think of wealth management in athletics as resembling the show Ballers on HBO. Having seen the show, what are the most extravagant departures from real life that you see Dwayne Johnson do?
Jeff: “The biggest thing is, our relationships are not built on loaning players personal money or trips to Vegas or late nights at the club. In fact, it’s the opposite. They are built on trust created over time, during which there is a lot of stress and struggle.”
Austin: “Obviously, Ballers is made for TV, but there’s a lot viewers don’t see. The thing to realize is, there’s a tremendous amount of stress put on young athletes from an early age, not just from the point when they become professional, but from the time someone recognizes that they have a special talent and potential. Very often, their families exert a tremendous amount of pressure to reach that professional level.  Along with that pressure is the stress of always wondering who is talking to them and for what reason and if they are being exploited. We aren’t here to buy bottles and surf-and-turf dinners. We are hired to establish financial plans and educate our clients so that, with our guidance, they can maintain the ability to buy their own bottles and steak and lobster dinners.”
What are the top 3 tips you would give a rookie or veteran on managing their money?
Jeff: “Liquidity is key, so No. 1, have a good allocation to cash. And if the two emotions that rule the world are fear and greed, stay fearful and do not chase returns. Chase goals and a plan, and be accountable to yourself first.”
Austin:  “I would advise all athletes to stay up to speed with their respective league retirement plan, to have a basic will for their assets, and to consider the ‘what if’ factor with every financial decision. As a professional athlete you only get one chance to have this sudden wealth, and unlike the average American retiring and needing to make their money last for 20-30 years, athletes need to make it last for 60-70 years.”
For more information, reach out to Jeff here or email Austin at Austin dot Murphy at suntrust dot com.
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