There are plenty of stories about pro athletes blowing their fortunes on guilty pleasures and flashy toys, but even the most financially wise aren’t guaranteed a life of financial security.
Former NFL player Marques Ogden was once worth $4 million, but one bad business decision left him with only $1,800 in his bank account and filing for personal bankruptcy. He told CNN Money:
“Both of my parents had strong educations and financial literacy backgrounds. If I can lose everything in 90 days, you can too.”
Ogden was drafted into the NFL in 2003 with a signing bonus of $75,000 and a rookie year salary of $400,000. He has had an extensive football career playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
Even with a successful football career, Ogden was financially smart about his money and planned for the future. He knew football wasn’t forever as he usually referred to the NFL as an acronym for “not for long.”
The offensive lineman was a graduate in finance at Howard University, which he attended on a football scholarship. Ogden aspired for a career as a financial adviser on Wall Street, taking after his investment banker father. He even did an internship stint with Merrill Lynch, but ultimately set his financial dreams aside after football scouts sought him out his junior year.
Still, the financial mindset stuck with Ogden throughout football. He shared with CNN Money:
“I was fiscally aware of my expenses and my income. I had a profit and loss statement … I did that on a monthly basis.”
Ogden continued to educate himself in finance while playing football and enrolled in construction development courses at the University of Southern California. He launched a construction company, Kayden Premier Enterprises, in Baltimore in 2008 with funds from the $2.5 million he had saved up as well as credit and home loans. In 2009, the offensive tackle retired from football following a back injury and saw his construction company’s first big project success the same year.
Kayden Premier Enterprises grew from seven employees to about 50 to 60 employees in 2012. However, the company didn’t ride that wave for long when Ogden assumed a problematic seven-figure project in downtown Baltimore. He claimed to have never received payment and was slapped with a $2 million bill for the 90 days.
Ogden did his best to keep the company alive with his personal funds, but ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2013. As a result, Ogden was left with a home foreclosure, repossession of his two cars and terrible credit. He said:
“It was very depressing, I had become a statistic that I was trying to avoid. I didn’t have lavish spending habits. I became a statistic trying to save my business and that can happen to anyone.”
Fortunately, Ogden applied for a grant from the Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust, which helped him and his wife pay for rent and utilities for four months in North Carolina. Ogden got back on his feet and was hired for a position at Merrill Lynch, though he eventually concluded that finance wasn’t for him.
Today, Ogden runs a local football camp that includes individual and team training sessions. He also wrote the book “Sleepless Nights” and is a motivational speaker who shares his life obstacles and triumphs.