TAMPA — A lot has changed in the NFL since Ndamukong Suh entered the league as the second overall pick in 2010.
The locker room discussion is not as much about cars, clubs and carats. It’s about return on investments and compound interest.
“(Players) now are starting to talk about businesses and stocks and all these new pieces,” Suh said. “That never used to be the case when I was in the league in 2010-11 and ’12. Everybody was talking about, ‘Oh, I want to go to the club, I want to do this.’ Times are changing. But we’ve got to be smart about how they’re changing.”
Suh, 34, is changing, too. Oh, he’s still the anchor in the middle of the defense for the reigning Super Bowl champions. But Suh’s passion is not just rushing the passer.
He’s determined to improve financial literacy and educate as many as possible on the secrets of obtaining and building wealth for families for generations to come.
“I feel like I’ve been very, very fortunate to be around some of the best people in the world at their jobs, whether it be real estate, finance,” said Suh, who signed a one-year, $9 million deal before this season. “... One thing this shield does in the NFL is it allows you to open up many, many doors and I want to take the opportunity to do that.”
Suh has utilized Twitter to create threads that are easy to follow and full of financial advice, not just for wealthy investors but for anyone wanting to learn how to make and save money.
Suh has learned from the best. He has become close, personal friends of billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Now the Bucs defensive tackle is ready to share knowledge that is not incorporated in schools.
Ideally, Suh said the education should begin well before you earn your first paycheck.
“Wholeheartedly, I believe financial literacy should be in the school system, but unfortunately, it’s not,” Suh said. “Having my mom being a teacher and see the lessons she’s taught me. Some of my first lessons around financial literacy were having her give me a credit card when I was 15-16. Most kids don’t have that opportunity.
“My mom is working for the government. She would say you’ve got $100, this is only for when you need gas or in an emergency or things like that. If you go over that limit, it gets removed. If you max out your credit card, they’re going to look for you to pay it back or you can no longer exceed or use that credit card anymore.
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“There’s lots of people, young adults and people in their 30s and 40s, who have no idea. People are really scared so making finances and talking about money, let it be something that’s fun.”
Suh has become a must-follow on Twitter. He will drop themed lessons that resonate with everyone trying to get ahead or stay there. Among the lessons:
On mailbox income
“You start out with mailbox money being your normal income when you first get your first job. And then you find ways to take that. Live modestly and comfortable and then say I need to reinvest the income that I have so it can start to work for itself. ... It’s building generational wealth.
“That mailbox money comes to me and I can disperse it different ways and then I have the ability to say I can now pass that down to my kids, bring it into an LLC, whatever it may be to have that generational wealth.
“That’s how my parents did. They said I’m going to refinance my house. I’m going to buy an apartment. This apartment is going to be allocated to my daughter, the oldest, my sister. You want to play soccer? You want to be on the travel squad and all these different things? Help me with this apartment. The money is going to come in and we’re going to pass it down to the next person.”
“I hope guys (in the league) start to look in that lens and say playing this sport is a blessing, it’s a great opportunity. But you have to understand it can be taken away from you in a minute. In a blink of a second, whether that’s injury or you’re the 53rd man on the roster. Injuries happen and you get cut. I have friends and family that have been on both sides of that boat. The most important thing is take advantage of what you have right now.
“Create those relationships That’s one of the things I’ve mentioned on threads all the time. Relationships carry everything in this world and that’s something I learned. It’s not preying on folks, it genuinely taking interest in what people are doing.”
Make time for what’s important
Suh and wife Katya have twin boys, which keeps them busy, to say the least. Suh is still building his empire in real estate.
“I know it’s a bad saying but I’ll sleep when I die. I have that mindset but also I’m in the NFL, I still enjoy playing, I’m playing at a high level, in my opinion. Then at the same time, when I do retire and look at my boys, I’ve got 18 years to work really, really hard. After 18 years, I can kind of start to relax and enjoy life. My focus now is spending as much time as I can with my family and working as hard as I can.
“Today I finish practice, go for my treatment and then spend two or three hours in the afternoon before dinner starts with my boys. You’ve got to find time to do that and if you don’t, you’re going to miss out at the end of the day.”
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