Financial Planning

Financial Playbook For College Coaches

Before the 2019 season, 27 of the 130 schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) made a head coaching change while 69 schools hired at least one new coordinator. Within the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), 25 of the 116 schools made similar moves. And, head coaches in the National Football League were not immune from turnover either as eight of the 32 professional franchises also made a head coaching change prior to this season. (1) Seemingly constant turnover in leadership and scheme can certainly make it difficult for players to play to the best of their ability on the field. Similarly, the dynamic landscape of the modern coaching profession makes it equally as challenging for coaches and their families to have a reliable financial plan.

Job changes can seemingly take place at a moment’s notice. But change doesn’t stop with a new closetful of team gear, a new office, or a new phone number. Changing jobs has ripple effects throughout various aspects of a coach’s life.

Usually in the middle of a pressure-filled recruiting period and/or Spring practice, coaches are tasked with signing up for benefits at their new school, selling their current home, and finding a new home and school for their children often in a strange town. Having family left behind at their prior job makes it all the more difficult.

Those realities of the increasingly lucrative coaching profession are why it is important to establish a disciplined financial plan with a trusted financial advisor who understands the landscape and the challenges that coaches and their families face. We have found that our clients in the coaching profession take comfort in knowing that they have a solid framework in place to help tackle some of the most important aspects of the financial side of their unique profession – establishing an emergency fund, a plan for housing, and making the most of their previous and current employers’ benefits plans.

Because coaches often change jobs from season to season in order to advance their careers, it is important to build and have access to an emergency fund. This emergency fund should be easily accessible and could cover expenses such as temporary housing, moving their belongings from one town to another, and contract buyouts just to name a few.

A decision that a coach faces almost immediately after taking a new job is whether to buy or rent a home in his new town. There are many variables that come into play. Some are more costly than others. How much equity has the coach built up over the years from previous properties? What closing costs are associated with buying a new property? How much time can the coach dedicate to maintaining the home?

The most important question is perhaps the most difficult to answer: How long does the coach plan to live in that home? Of course, the answer to that question is quite often closely tied to the amount of success that a coaching staff has at his new job. But it is important for a coach to compare the costs of renting a home and buying a home over a short period of time given the nomadic nature of the profession.

The last major area of the financial plan that a coach and his family need to pay close attention to is the benefits package of his new employer. While health and life insurance benefits are important, the retirement plans offered by many universities can be very lucrative. Some schools offer pension plans while most offer 403(b) and 457(b) plans. In either case, it is important to understand the vesting schedules to receive full benefits. When coaches change jobs regularly, becoming fully vested in a retirement plan can be difficult. We have found that some schools allow a continuation of service waiver if the coach comes directly from a similar employer. This waiver often expedites the vesting timeline. In addition to making sound investment decisions within the 403(b) and/or 457(b) plans, maximizing the school’s contribution can have a significant impact on the coach’s long-term financial plan.

With the business side of football growing exponentially, there is no reason to think the coaching carousel is going to slow down any time soon. That reality makes it all the more important to have a sound financial plan personalized by a trusted financial advisor to fall back on.  The sacrifices required by the coaching lifestyle may not be worth the trouble without one.

Investment with Matt Kuerzi and Keith NorrisAbout the author: Matt Kuerzi is Vice President and Financial Advisor with The WNK Group at Morgan Stanley in Louisville, Kentucky. Matt and his team have a combined 40 years of experience helping families with their financial planning (2).  In 2019, Matt was recognized by Forbes in their first ever list of “Best-In-State Next-Gen Advisors”.  He can be reached directly at (502) 394-4094 or You can visit with Matt in AFCA Booth 962.

(1) Source:

(2) Matt Kuerzi, Vice President, Financial Advisor, experienced in the financial services industry since 2002.  Keith Norris, First Vice President, Financial Advisor, experienced in the financial services industry since 1997.

The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee their accuracy or completeness.

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Source: Forbes Magazine (September 2019).  Data provided by SHOOKTM Research, LLC. Data as of 3/31/19. SHOOK considered Financial Advisors born in 1980 or later with a minimum 4 years relevant experience, who have: built their own practices and lead their teams; joined teams and are viewed as future leadership; or a combination of both. Ranking algorithm is based on qualitative measures: telephone and in-person interviews, client retention, industry experience, credentials, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, such as: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC, which does not receive compensation from the advisors or their firms in exchange for placement on a ranking. The rating may not be representative of any one client’s experience and is not indicative of the Financial Advisor’s future performance. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC nor its Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors pays a fee to Forbes or SHOOK Research in exchange for the ranking.  For more information see

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