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There is almost nothing left of the millions earned” – that was the core statement of the short documentary “Football player – bankruptcy at the end of career”. Former top football players talk about bad decisions, their finances and bankruptcies. How can it be that at the end of a career there is nothing left of the monthly salaries that normal employees can only dream of? Inflated away? By no means.

From millionaire to dishwasher

The American dream, only the other way around. They are stories that life writes. Günter Breitzke, Ailton, Ansgar Brinkmann and Martin Schneider look like a frequent misery. It makes sense to play for the BVB like Breitzke, win the DFB Cup and now live off unemployment benefits. Ailton is not feeling any better. In the documentary, he still played for four and five league teams, in 2013 he ended his career. Brinkmann – a former Mainz and Eintracht player – lives in his girlfriend’s house because his money is gone. Martin Schneider (Mönchengladbach, Nuremberg) also lost his savings. What do the four people have in common?

Except for the lost money, there are some things in common:

  • Spending money
  • take out dizzying insurances
  • real estate transactions that do not pay off

The players are not always directly to blame. Especially in the insurance and real estate business, they rely on financial advisors and experts to invest the money for them. Here for example real estates were sold around the triple of the value to the players. It is particularly bitter with Schneider: he sank 2 million DM at that time. A small success: His financial advisor has meanwhile been convicted.

What do these examples show us?

  • A high income is not to be equated with a high fortune
  • A high income does not protect against bad deals
  • Trust is good, control is better

ad 1.

A person can earn as much money as he wants, but in the end what counts is how he deals with it: keyword “lifestyle inflation”. It is pointless to earn 4,000€ a month, but at the same time to spend exactly this amount. A zero-sum game.

ad 2.

We often think that a high income always goes hand in hand with good business. It’s probably the other way round: many bad deals and few good deals. Why? Because there are suddenly many “good deals”. Because suddenly many “advisors” come crawling up and suggest you different deals. What investment are you actually making? Well, as ignorant mostly those who lead to ad 3.

ad 3.

Trust was an extremely important factor for football players. That is understandable. A financial advisor who is even suggested to you by the club doesn’t want anything bad, does he? Maybe nothing bad, but at least there is money for him to earn. That’s why it’s important to get a second advice and to go through the contracts yourself.


We should also be aware that a career can also come to an abrupt end. It is not a stone carving to have a good professional position for all eternity. The case comes faster than you think. It doesn’t help to have served in the company for 25 years. At the end of the day, key business figures still count. Stupid, but that’s reality. No evaluation: A condition of the growth paradigm that we have imposed on ourselves.

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