When it comes to money, he seeks to avoid rookie mistakes
Fans may hear about superstar contracts and assume that anyone who plays in the NFL is ready for life, but for most young players entering the league, football and financial success are not a given.
Ricky Seals-Jones learns the right things in real time. As a junior at Texas A&M, Seals-Jones faced a common question for college athletes: should he play his final season as Aggie or try his luck with the pros? After much prayer and discussion with his friends and family, including his cousin, Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, Seals-Jones chose to forgo his final year of eligible play and headed out towards the NFL Draft.
“Honestly, in today’s world, your credit is everything.“
But the evening of the 2017 draft went by without his name being called, causing a period of personal, sporting and monetary uncertainty. Signed to the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent, Seals-Jones relied on the help of a sales manager, Gustavo “Goose” Miguel, to help him control his finances as he progressed. of the training team to full force. time list. By staying on budget and dropping her credit score from 580 to 730 since January, the recruit was on track to get her financial situation under control.
Seals-Jones’ footwork on the pitch also paid off.
In his very first career game on Nov. 19, he scored two touchdowns and amassed 54 yards on three catches against the Houston Texans. The Cardinals may have lost the game, but Seals-Jones has earned the attention and respect of the fans.
We caught up with Seals-Jones to talk about gambling, money, and how he plans to get his dream home.
To begin with, I would like to know more about your childhood and how you became interested in football.
When you come from Texas, you are a little immersed in it. This is how my parents kept us out of trouble – they made us do a lot of sports. I fell in love with it. I started in second or third year playing flag, and in fourth year I went to tackle. And it was just football from that point on.
And what was your financial experience like growing up? Have you had the opportunity to learn about personal finances?
A little, but not as much as I wanted. I started to learn it this year when I met Gustavo. He broke it. I was unaware of some of them, but I started to take an interest in them as I learned more.
I’ve always heard that the more money you make, the more problems you have. I don’t have a lot of them, but as I started to have more I felt like I had more bills and more things to pay. For me, the simple management of money was important. I used to say to myself, ‘OK, I’m going to pay the bills, whatever I have left, I have left. If I run out, I can ask the moms for money. [Laughs] Now I know how much I have in bills, I pay them off, and then I figure out how to manage what I have left to hold onto until next month. It’s a lot easier once you figure this out and stick to your budget plan.
Is it hard for you? Are you on budget?
Not really, because I’m not a flashy guy. If I want to go shopping for clothes, it’s not high-end designer clothes. I’m more of the laid back type who doesn’t like all this flashy stuff.
It is not easy for everyone. A lot of people try to keep up with the Joneses and live beyond their means.
My biggest advice would be to make a budget that leaves you a little leeway. If you want that expensive bag or shoes, you still have some wiggle room, but stay within your budget, stay in your lane.
When I started making a lot of money I would see guys with these expensive shoes and I was tempted. But you never know what can happen. So that’s what I would tell people, stick to your budget, at least until you’re three or four years old and making a lot of money. But until then, be average. You play in the National Football League. There is no need to be flashy. If you can make a name for yourself in the field then you’ll be good from there.
This uncertainty around your sporting future must be a challenge. When you were on the Cardinals practice squad, you got paid every week, right? How did you deal with this?
“It’s amazing how much I boosted the score in just a few months by learning little tricks.“
The first three weeks I was on the practice team, I was making roughly, not even $ 2,000 a week. It was hard. I just saved as much as I could. After those three weeks they put me on the list, and those checks are a bit different.
So after I started making more money, I spoke to Goose and budgeted. I gathered all my bills, I added them up to see where I was. And I’m still on this budget now – it’s been awesome.
I have heard that you have also had great success in increasing your credit score.
Honestly, in today’s world, your credit is everything. I told Goose I wanted to buy a car, obviously, but also a house later, maybe next year. The first thing he asked me was, “How’s your credit rating?” When I left college, I had no idea.
It’s amazing how much I boosted the score in just a few months by learning little tricks, like using my credit cards more often, to help it climb. It’s one of those things that you need to master. Also, do your research. Go to a bank, talk to a financial advisor, find out how the credit process works – it will get easier.
We had the opportunity to speak to your cousin, Eric Dickerson, about his financial journey. Did he give you financial advice?
His advice is, “Don’t go bankrupt. Don’t spend your money. This is good advice. Short and sweet.
He doesn’t want me to make his mistakes. When I asked him for advice, he never misdirected me. Whenever he talks about something, I listen and I really listen. Especially finance. He was up and down with hers. He made mistakes and learned from them.
I bet this extends to your football career as well. I think your story is really interesting, how you went from being a wide receiver in college to being a tight end for the Cardinals. How was this process?
Oh man, that was hard. I started training there right after the college season. I decided I wanted to come into the NFL and try my luck there, and it was tough at first. I didn’t know anything about the tight end and was learning it on the fly. I just kept my head down, kept rectifying, kept doing what the coach told me to do.
And I continued to study. It’s like a different language when you first come here. I had never been in a band before, listening to QB songs. I used to receive a wave for a play. I just adapted and kept fighting. I was on the practice squad, and one of the tight ends hurt my ankle, and they lifted me up. I got my shot, took it and ran with it.
I think it may have to do with finance, a bit. Having to adjust the course to be successful.
It all depends on how you approach it. You can’t approach your finances with a halfway, halfway strategy. You really have to focus on what you are doing. You could be wrong and it could cause you to lose money, or just end up in a bad financial situation. It is the same with football. If you don’t go out and don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you could seriously injure someone else, but you could also hurt yourself ending your career.
When I get financial advice, I try to pay attention and focus the same way I do when I watch plays.
Now you have certainly had an exciting few weeks. How does it feel to go from the practice squad to the full-time squad for a really good playing time?
It’s incredible. What I’ve been through – from being the bottom of the barrel to a guy who’s just happy to do the p-squad. I knew it wasn’t me, being in the p-squad, and I was grateful that they saw potential in me.
It was great to make the first start at home and play against the Texans. I was just looking for a catch or two, but going out and scoring twice was huge. It was great to go out and show all my hard work.
This season is ending. Next year it looks like your contract will increase to just under $ 100,000.
I’m not focused on this next contract at the moment; I’m focused on the game right now. Right now it’s just football for me. I study cinema a lot and rest. This is the key for me at the end of the season. In college, we would have finished two weeks ago. I have to make sure that my body is always in great shape.
What about your money goals?
I saved. By the time I get to next season, I don’t want to be stressed out about the money. I just want to live comfortably and not be dependent on the next paycheck.
You also mentioned wanting to buy a house.
Yeah, it’s my only thing – a house. I always wanted to live on a lake somewhere in Texas. I love to fish, and that’s how I want to spend my days out of season.
Do you plan to reimburse Mom for the time you spent in college asking for money?
[Laughs] Yeah… that was always my choice. “They bypassed us on our purse money!”
She will definitely be treated.
Do you have any separation advice for other athletes?
Save your money. It’s number 1. If you can live by that rule, if you can live by that one rule there, everything else is fine.
I’ve seen a lot of guys get in trouble because they’ve never seen so much money come in so fast and they don’t have people around them who can help them manage it. On top of that, family members or friends may start asking this and that, and it is not easy to say no to them. If someone asks me something and I don’t feel comfortable I can say, “Let me talk to my financial advisor and see what he says. If you don’t have this person in your circle, it can be difficult.
It’s hard to say no to family members, but sometimes you just have to be careful with yourself.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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Photo by Jeffrey Beall (own work) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons