Select Region/Language

We’re coming up empty for insights on “SEARCH_QUERY”

We’re coming up empty for services on “SEARCH_QUERY”

Service offered through BMO Investment Services

We’re coming up empty for team members on “SEARCH_QUERY”
We’re coming up empty for “SEARCH_QUERY”

Make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly, or try searching for something else

Looking for something else?

JUNE 26, 2023

How Financial Advisors Can Help Athletes Deal With Friends, Family and Fame

At the start of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, Connor Bedard, the 17-year-old junior hockey phenom who is expected to go number one in this year’s NHL Draft, couldn’t help flash a big smile when describing the scene prior to watching Game 2 in Las Vegas. “Everyone had hundreds and hundreds of sticks,” he said with wonder in an interview, as reported in Sportsnet. “And of course you have the lounge area, the chefs, and the cars are pretty nuts.”

Bedard and two other soon-be-drafted players were getting their first taste of major league opulence where players make millions and get treated like royalty. It’s the type of scene that will play out across the MLB, NBA and other pro leagues in the coming months.

With big bank accounts, though, come big responsibilities, including supporting parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends – in addition to the athlete’s own lifestyle now and after their playing days are done.

None of this is easy to manage, which is why young stars need a plan to help them navigate the complexities of wealth. Here are a few things to consider.


Parents and family: The original crew

It’s common for parents to be heavily involved in an athlete’s life early on, says Stephanie Condra, Head of BMO Private Wealth’s National Strategy Office. Klay Thompson is one memorable example. According to NBC Sports, as a 23-year-old rookie in the NBA, the rising star was making US$2.2 million, but only received a $300 weekly “allowance” from his father.

“These parents have been up at four or five in the morning, driving their kids to games,” Condra says. “The parent is key to our relationship, as advisors – many times they’re the decision-maker or a huge influencer.”

Parents and family often have joined the athlete in a new city or country and expect the player to pay for their new living expenses. It can get complicated, which is why many athletes turn to advisors to manage their financial affairs – for themselves and their entourage.

“We often see families which may include mom, dad, siblings, partners and friends moving to a new city together.  We want to take care of all of the individuals who are important to the athlete,” says Caroline LeBlanc, an Ultra High Net Worth Banker with BMO Private Wealth who has worked with many sports professionals over the years. “The athlete may also be paying  rent, buying cars and paying expenses for the family and friends; hence managing day to day cash flow is important”.

Still, as much as athletes want to share their success, they need to be able to “stand up independently” on financial matters, says Condra. Sometimes that means saying “no” to friends or family, which can be really hard to do, she explains. “We can be the person who says ‘no,’” she says, adding that she’ll even arm athletes with a script when they’re approached for money: Call my advisor, they would be happy to discuss.

LeBlanc adds that this approach can help athletes distance themselves from the pressure of conveying a dificult decision. “We can be the bad guy,” she explains.


Spouses and children: For better or for worse

If there’s one area that can impact an athlete’s wealth, it’s marriage – especially one that ends in divorce. Naturally, prenups, which protect the assets the athlete accumulates over the course of a marriage, make a lot of sense, but it’s not always easy for young professionals to have that discussion with their future spouse.

Other common complexities include children from previous relationships, moving to new jurisdictions with different tax and family laws, custody and residency issues for a professional who travels, and so on.

“As soon as you start to have your own family, you tend to put down roots,” Condra says. “You buy a house, your kids start going to school – and residency starts to get established.”

Financial advisors can help with the financial aspects of the prenup agreements – and connect with lawyers who can work on the legal part. They also have access to tax lawyers and accountants who can set up a future with international flexibility, and have the difficult, but necessary, conversations, including about the potential dissolution of marriage. Jurisdiction will determine many arrangements in case of separation or divorce.

“Now, nobody’s having that conversation with somebody they love,” Condra says. “But it’s the idea of going in aware and knowledgeable, getting advice from professionals, versus being surprised if something were to happen later on.”


‘Chosen’ family: The risks and rewards

Family dynamics aren’t limited to relatives and partners – many athletes bring an entourage of close friends to this intimidating, high-stakes world, too.

For instance, Kevin Garnett, as an 18-year-old drafted from high school, started his NBA career with a large group of friends, all living together. Today, considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time, the young Garnett credited his entourage with keeping him grounded.

That’s not always how the story ends, though. Take Antoine Walker, who, as reported in ESPN, made more than US$110 million over 13 NBA seasons, but declared bankruptcy in 2010. He got caught up in all of the issues advisors warn about: lavish spending on himself, but also on his family and friends. “When I was younger I used to travel with probably eight or nine guys, which is a very expensive lifestyle to live because you are traveling the world,” he said.  

There’s also often a desire to keep up with teammates’ lifestyles, and expensive possessions. LeBlanc once got a call from a client at a car dealership: Can I buy this car? He was, of course, looking at the best vehicle on the lot. They discussed his current finances and revisited the athlete’s future financial goals, and he eventually chose a more modest car. “You want to be a sounding board,” LeBlanc says. “The athlete can do anything they’d like with their wealth; however, tying the action back to the financial goal is key.”


Advisors: Your financial family

Ultimately, athletes need a financial team in place to draft detailed plans on how to protect their wealth over the course of their lifetime, safeguard their assets, and find financially viable ways to support the family, friends and causes they care about.

Clearly, athletes have very specific needs, whether its managing cross-border tax issues, complex relationships or ensuring their wealth can last well after their careers end. These aren’t issues players have time to think about themselves. They need to focus on the game.

“There is peace of mind when everything is nailed down,” LeBlanc says. “We have a plan. And that’s at least one thing they don’t have to worry about.”


Great advice helped you succeed as an athlete. It can help you secure your financial future too.

At BMO Wealth Management, we have a team of athlete specialists who understand the challenges you’ll face during all stages of your career and life – from fluctuations in income and unpredictable career spans, to family obligations, privacy issues and transitioning to life after the final whistle. Our professionals help you manage all aspects of your financial future including investment management, banking, trusts, insurance, philanthropy, taxes, cross-border solutions and financial planning.

To learn more about how we work with athletes and coaches or to speak with an experienced BMO Wealth Management advisor, visit

Please consult with your advisor for your own personal situation. The research analysts contributing to the report have certified that:
• All the views expressed in the research report accurately reflect his/her personal views about any and all of the subject securities or issues; and
• No part of his/her compensation was, is, or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendation or views expressed by him/her in this research report.
The information and opinions expressed herein are obtained from sources believed to be reliable and up-to-date; however, their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Opinions expressed reflect judgment current as of publication and are subject to change.
This is not intended to serve as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any company, industry or security. The opinions expressed here reflect our judgment at this date and are subject to change. Information has been obtained from sources we consider to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy. This publication is prepared for general information only. This material does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. Investors should seek advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities or investment strategies discussed or recommended in this report and should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. Investment involves risk. Market conditions and trends will fluctuate. The value of an investment as well as income associated with investments may rise or fall. Accordingly, investors may receive back less than originally invested.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Past performance is not indicative of future results. International investing, especially in emerging markets, involves special risks, such as currency exchange and price fluctuations, as well as political and economic risks. There are risks involved with investing in small cap companies, including price fluctuations and lower liquidity. Commodities may be subject to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities and pose special risks. Investments in commodities may be affected by overall market movements, changes in interest rates, and other factors such as weather, disease, embargoes, and international economic and political developments.
Estate planning requires legal assistance which BMO Harris Bank N.A. and its affiliates do not provide. Please consult with your legal advisor.