Morgan Stanley
  • Wealth Management
  • Nov 7, 2023

You Are Your Own CEO: Build a Dream Team for Your Career

Assembling a team of trusted professionals to manage your career—and your money—is essential to help best position you to thrive. Here’s how.

CEOs don’t run business empires on their own. Often, when chief executives look to their boards of directors, company veterans and trusted C-suite advisors for advice, they will often make better, more thoughtful, and strategic decisions for their company. 

Managing your financial and professional life as an elite athlete or entertainer is very similar. Assembling a team of trusted professionals to manage your career—and your money—is essential to help put you in the best position to thrive.

We asked Financial Advisors from Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports & Entertainment division - a division dedicated to serving the unique and sophisticated needs of athletes, entertainers and sports & entertainment industry executives - for their insights on selecting the right people for your team. Here are three key questions they helped us answer:

1. How Do You Identify the Roles That You Need?

Your Financial Advisor is a central player on your team. Many elite and professional athletes and entertainers earn a high income over a relatively short period of time, and that income often must last for the rest of their lives. But a high income does not automatically translate to wealth. A “you only live once” mentality is potentially harmful and may lead to spending mistakes that can leave you short on funds in the future.

A Financial Advisor can assist in building a tailored financial gameplan and investment strategy customized to your needs and goals, and can help you create a budget and allocate your income in accordance with your customized plan. The amount of money that you need or want to save might vary depending on where you are in your career and what type of lifestyle you want to have after you retire.

Your needs are unique. Professional athletes tend to have significantly shorter careers than the general working population. The average career length for an NFL player, for example, is 3.3 years.1 Trusting the wrong people, lending too much money to family or friends, overspending and not saving for life after your professional playing career ends are among key financial mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

A team of financial professionals can certainly help. Key roles in your professional C-suite can include your Chief Financial Officer (Financial Advisor and accountant), Chief Marketing Officer (agent) and Chief Legal Officer (attorney). These people help ensure your money, legal risks and career opportunities are well managed. Depending on your needs, a Chief Operating Officer (business manager) or Chief Advertising or Communications Officer (publicist) may be useful as well.

2. How Do You Pick the Right People for Those Roles?

Finding a trusted Financial Advisor or lawyer isn’t always a quick and simple process, but it’s well worth investing the time and resources to find the right one(s).

Some of the best candidates may come from word-of-mouth referrals from industry colleagues and acquaintances, or trusted coaches and mentors. You can ask mentors, coaches, advisors, teammates, or fellow professionals how they selected and formed their teams – and if they are working with partners that they would recommend. Be sure to collect multiple names from multiple sources. Then, do your own thorough research to whittle down the list based on who meets your specific needs and criteria. Relevant experience, specializations and a positive track record are all important criteria.

Highly suggested if you can, interview several potential choices and check additional references. This due diligence is critical – and helps you understand what you like and do not like about these certain individuals, and helps you get to know them before you bring them on board.  

3. How Do You Keep Your Team on Track and Evaluate Their Performance?

A well-managed career cannot run on autopilot. Check in with your team of advisors on a regular basis. At the least, you may want to schedule quarterly meetings with your Financial Advisor or much more frequent contact with them and other people who play an active role in your business and personal enterprise.

Each part of your team should have a quantifiable, numeric measure for success. If they have a stake in your success, they are even more motivated to help you protect and grow your wealth. Long-term relationships help build trust and reinforce the win-win attitude that CEOs strive to instill in their own teams.

Build Your Professional Dream Team

You have that something extra, the star quality, the intangibles that put you on top in fiercely competitive industries. You already have the vision, but you may need the plan to make the most of the opportunities available to you. Your distinct needs inspired the creation of Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment.

Our Financial Advisors are Global Sports and Entertainment Directors, chosen for their advanced experience and expertise working within very specific fields relevant to the sports and entertainment industry. Learn more and connect with a Global Sports & Entertainment Director near you.

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