By: Justin Mears, @jmears26
If you have seen the ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary Broke, you know that financial management for young professional athletes is, to put it lightly, challenging. The story often goes something like this: Young twenty something year old suddenly earns millions of dollars, is surrounded by friends and family looking to capitalize on his success, spends extravagantly, makes poor investment decisions, has no concept of a budget, has a finite career window, and ends up bankrupt soon after his professional days are over.
For Chris Moynes, author of The Pro’s Process and Managing Director of ONE Sports + Entertainment Group, educating professional athletes about wealth management and then helping them achieve their financial goals while empowering them to take ownership in the process is his professional calling.
Chris grew up playing sports like so many of us, but a broken neck suffered while playing hockey in high school derailed his aspirations of playing in college or professionally. After going to school in England, his dad suggested that he join him at his wealth management firm, Assante, where he would assist in building a practice with professional athletes for the company.
Chris did just that, building up a client base of professional athletes at Assante as he learned the ropes of what challenges athletes face when it comes to their financial security.
Eventually, he would leave Assante and join RBC Sports and Entertainment, where he spent 11 years continuing to construct a client base that included mostly NHL players and building a reputation as a trustworthy advisor who truly valued his clients’ needs and interests.
Ultimately, Chris decided that, for him, the education of professional athletes would ultimately help him empower them to take ownership of their own finances and so he became Managing Director of ONE Sports + Entertainment and a Senior Financial Advisor with Aligned Capital Partners Inc. in September of 2014.
He believes that he is able to truly engage with his clients and help them with what they are doing financially by providing them the tools to have a better understanding of exactly what is going on with their money. This desire to educate professional athletes became a true passion of his that he says derives from his dad’s background as an educator.
Education as a primary tool for helping athletes take ownership of their financial security became a cornerstone for Chris as he continued to build on his brand loyalty. As he worked to create an educational platform that would extend his reach and message, he wrote The Pro’s Process: An Expert’s Approach to Wealth Management for Professional Athletes.
In this book, Chris details what he sees as the problems and challenges surrounding professional athletes, which include certain “land mines” athletes face, common mistakes and what he terms the “behavior gap.” He then focuses on the solution offered by his process, specifically how to close the “behavior gap.” From there, he talks about how to play offense in the financial realm, including building a personal plan and portfolio. He finishes by talking about the importance of playing defense as well, which he encourages with his “bulletproofing” checklist. Through all of this, he establishes a tried and true process that he has developed over 22 years of helping athletes manage their wealth.
For Chris, the goal is for this to truly become a process for all athletes. He says that, “[Athletes] are told when to do everything, so if I can build the process, it’s easy for them to follow.”
His ability to weave his “process” through his book and educate professional athletes across the sports landscape has been, “One of the best things [he] has ever done.” It has increased his brand exposure as he strives to, “Be at the top of someone’s mind when someone says to a player my mortgage is coming up and I don’t know what to do.”
He says that his calling is, “The ability to send a message to athletes and have them actually receive it about the importance of saving while they are going through this. When you are in the middle, you feel indestructible, but it will end and we have to start planning for it early.”
When asked about the importance of his own personal brand loyalty and the reputation he has built, Chris responded, “You build it over 15, 20 years, but it only takes 20 seconds to ruin it. You build it by word of mouth. If you do great things for people, they talk about that.”
If you bring up what the day-to-day is like as an investment manager, Chris is quick to point out that he is a relationship manager, not an investment manager. He truly believes that in order to help athletes create lasting financial success, he has to do more than just be a ‘yes man’ for them.
Chris takes the approach that “it’s about having a discussion and letting them make the decision, but helping to point them in the right direction.” That is what he does when he meets with his clients throughout the year. This includes everything from bi-weekly allocation of funds, to discussions of big purchases and the need for liquidation, to conducting a cash flow analysis of their investments together, to creating a pros and cons list when facing a major financial decision.
When asked how he approaches dealing with all of the outside influences trying to gain a slice of his clients’ pies, Chris says, “I’d much rather be the bad guy. Let me be the bad person. If someone comes to you with a business venture, you say you are happy to forward it on, but you need a business plan in order to do so. We help them deliver that message to family or friends.”
The number of clients who go against his wishes and force him to part ways are few and far between, but if that happens, Chris says he goes into those discussions with the mindset that, “It’s your money and your decision and I try and provide the best advice we can give, but it’s your right to go against that.”
In the end, Chris seeks to “Mold [athletes] into the people they deserve to be.”
“An educated client is an easier client to work with and deal with. I don’t want someone to throw up their hands and just say you do it. I want the empowerment of having them involved. We are not their yes men.”
In asking him what advice he would give to young sports industry professionals, Chris points out that the biggest thing that has led to his success is an unwillingness to cut corners. He says that if you are true to your client and providing the right solutions for them, then you will gain a credible reputation. This kind of reputation is built the “right way for the long haul.”
Chris’ parting advice was to remember that, “At the end of the day, when you are talking about breaking into the sports industry, everyone wants to do it. It’s the dream job. A lot of people in that mindset can get into that ‘yes man’ mentality, but if you are not true to your client and your beliefs and values, then you are going down a path that’s a slippery slope.”
We would like to thank Chris for taking the time to share his “Pro’s Process” with our readers, and we look forward to more insights in his brand new book, After the Game: Challenges for the Retiring Pro Athlete.
Chris can be reached on Twitter @Moynesy8 or on LinkedIn here. Feel free to check out The Pro’s Process while you’re at it.