John McCardell, financial advisor with Ellison Kibler & Associates in Columbia, S.C., a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management team with $1.8 billion in AUM.
REP.: You work with several athletes and coaches, including Dawn Staley, three-time Olympic gold medalist in U.S. basketball. What types of financial decisions do Olympians have to make post-games?
John McCardell: The majority of athletes and Olympic athletes have to figure out what are they going to do when they’re finished with their Olympic careers. Some people might train for 10 years and never get a medal. But the ones who do have success have to figure out either, ‘How am I going to parlay this into something I enjoy with some financial reward?’ or, ‘What am I going to do next in my career that I can make money in and hopefully be successful?’ In Dawn’s situation, she’s one of the most successful female athletes and especially female basketball players ever to play the game. But with that, didn’t come the financial reward as some of her male counterparts. For her, it was, ‘How do I move into something else where I can have a career that I love and enjoy?’ while also financially be able to provide for her mother and for her own lifestyle as well.
REP.: What did she end up doing?
JM: Coming out of the Olympics, she started coaching at Temple [University] because she’s from Philadelphia, and then ended up coming down to the Southeastern Conference and ended up being a highly compensated coach within the SEC.
REP.: How are athletes and Olympians different from other clients?
JM: The great thing about coaches and athletes is they’re very goal-oriented. If you’re an athlete or a coach, or have an Olympic background, the thing that’s very interesting is you have a lot of connections. So people are constantly presenting deals, that are not just stocks, bonds and cash—investing in private business, entrepreneurship ideas, opening some franchise. There’s all sorts of stuff that comes across the desk that is not market-related. So it’s being able to be knowledgeable and read offering documents and have sense to be able to look outside of the box at opportunities that might not just be under your wing. But just because their heart might be in something, understand that it might not be a viable investment option.
In the case of Olympians, their star is very bright for a certain amount of time. They can extend that star power, if they’re successful, but if that star power begins to fade, then you’ve got to capitalize on it when you have it.