An NFL player who saves almost all his salary and teaches a UPenn class called 'Life 101' shares his best money advice, and it's surprisingly simple

Brandon CopelandNew York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland, who teaches a financial-literacy class at Wharton, saves nearly all of his salary.
  • New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland has a Wall Street background, runs his own real-estate business, and teaches a financial-literacy class at UPenn.
  • The NFL player also saves nearly all of his income. According to Spotrac, his NFL salary is a reported $US1.2 million.
  • His simple money advice aligns with hallmark suggestions from several financial experts: Track all of your expenses.

When it comes to money, NFL player Brandon Copeland is a wealth of information.

The New York Jets linebacker has experience flipping houses, runs his own real-estate company with his wife, and teaches a financial-literacy class he nicknamed “Life 101” with Brian Peterson at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to that, Copeland interned at the investment bank UBS for two summers during college and worked remotely for the Wall Street firm Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers during the 2017 NFL off-season, according to ESPN.

Copeland, whose NFL salary is a reported $US1.2 million,according to Spotrac, told Business Insider he saves almost all of his salary. When asked for money advice, he kept it simple.

“Track all of your expenses,” he said. “Think about every single dollar, don’t even think about income – think about how much money is spent. Find out where every dollar goes, first and foremost.”

That includes tracking everything from discretionary expenses, like eating out, to essential expenses, like rent or mortgage. The latter alone is enough to wake people up, Copeland said.

“Keep income out of it as long as you can,” he added. “For me personally, it’s not about the income I make, it’s about what I’m spending and what can be cut.”

Read more: An NFL player who saves almost all his salary teaches a Wharton class called ‘Life 101,’ and his first assignment shocks students

Copeland’s advice is a mainstay among several financial experts, who advocate that keeping an eye on your spending habits is a critical first step to improving your finances. Once you figure out where your money goes, you can determine what areas you can cut back on to save.

Business Insider’s Lauren Lyons Cole, CFP, previously said that the best way to save more money is to start tracking your money. “Without even changing your behaviour, if you just start to watch it and pay attention to where your money goes every month, you’d be amazed at how likely you are to pull back on spending,” she said.

That extends to habits like going out to dinner or deciding if you should go on a trip with friends, she continued: “When you start tracking that every single day, it forces you to think about it and in my experience, watching clients in New York City, once they start tracking it, they tend to start pulling back on the amount of money they’re spending. By default, you end up saving more.”

Byron Ellis, CFP with United Capital Financial Life Management and founder of Doing Money Right, suggests combing through your checking and credit card statements from the last six months, listing any recurring expenses that could be cut, and listing any high expenses that could be reduced, he previously told Business Insider. A great way to do this is by keeping a spreadsheet, he added.

Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate at finder.com, also suggests logging your expenses.

“Seeing where your money is going every day can make you aware of unnecessary purchases that you may be making,” she previously told Business Insider. “Plus, cutting out those extra daily purchases can help you put aside more money for the future.”

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