Retirement Plans in Three Major Sports Leagues


Mike Ladge
Mike Ladge

The recipient of an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, Michael “Mike” Ladge is a California-based financial expert who has earned distinction as a Los Angeles Magazine 5 Star Wealth Manager. In addition to actors and musicians, Mike Ladge primarily provides wealth management services with a focus on retirement goals to professional athletes.

While star athletes generally earn millions of dollars per year, there are others who make the league minimum and need to be fiscally responsible during and after their career. Here’s a look at retirement support in three professional sports leagues:

1. NFL – The NFL, which maintains an average career salary of $6.1 million for players, offers a pension plan based on credited seasons. Players are eligible for benefits after accruing three seasons in which they were on an active roster for at least three games. Once they are 55 years old, players receive $660 per credited season every month, although that figure rises to $760 for the 2018-20 seasons. The league also offers an annuity plan which players can start drawing on at 35 years old.

2. MLB – Professional baseball players need to play in only 43 games at the big league level to earn a full pension. They can start receiving benefits at 45 years old, but the union suggests waiting until 62 to maximize monthly payments. Athletes with 10 seasons spent in the majors can earn up to $210,000 per year.

3. NHL – For every 20 games played, NHL players can earn 25 percent of a year’s pension benefits. The maximum pension value at 62 years old is $255,000 per year.

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