By Vince Agnew, Player Engagement Insider
Former third-round NFL draft pick, Travelle Wharton (Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals) is now a retired 10-year veteran of the league eager to reinforce his financial fundamentals at the NFL’s Personal Finance Boot Camp, and model to his four children that learning never ends.
Wharton, and a group of 28 current and former players along with 10 significant others, has been exposed to numerous subjects at the third-annual event in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. including budgeting techniques, investing, player benefits, the basics of taxes and more.
Some of the preeminent minds from The University of Miami, TD Ameritrade, and many others, have collaborated with the NFL to establish a financial foundation for the players in attendance.
"The educational part is very important because it is something that I want to pass to my kids," Wharton explained. "Just the reassurance of coming in here with professionals to know that I am on the right track is big. In the league, no matter if you're in year10 or yearone, you're constantly learning something and that is the approach I’m taking with finances."
Since retiring in 2014, Wharton has dedicated his time to endeavors like coaching the offensive line at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, and doing game-day commentary for the Panthers, who drafted him in 2004. However, none of these exceed the weight that he has placed on spending time with his family and building a tightknit group.
Wharton and his wife Kashema have three girls, Gabrielle (11), Kaelyn (7), Kelsey (6), and son T.J. (1).
"There's nothing like being on a team and that is what we are trying to build in our family,” he said. “The common goal is to be successful, so they may disagree with their sister but we have to find a way to get it done."
Former nine-year NFL defensive back turned financial planner, Shawn Wooden (Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears), spoke on the second day of the event and gave Wharton and other attendees an idea to take back to their children.
Wooden spoke at the boot camp not simply about finances, but also about the importance of teamwork within a family to keep those finances on track; this means also including the children in those decision-making conversations. Wooden explained his family’s routine meeting that goes over their budget and updates on savings for things like family vacations.
The concept captured Wharton, as his children are at an age where they are doing chores around their North Carolina home to save for video games and toys. It reiterated the importance of being financially sound when speaking to your family as well as underlining responsibility, structure and discipline. These principles lay the essential groundwork for success in every facet of life. No matter how many odds professional athletes have to beat in order to attain that level of success, statistics say they still have high probability of going broke if they are not educating themselves.
Understanding that each financial decision he makes will place his family another step further away from those grim statistics and one step closer to generational wealth, Wharton is absorbing each educational deposit at the NFL’s Personal Finance camp.