TROY, Mich. — Glover Quin heard it from teammates early in his career. They saw how he lived, how they lived and chided him. “Stop being so cheap,” some of his teammates in Houston said. Quin ignored them.
He continued to drive the Yukon Denali he bought when he entered the NFL in 2009, a car he still owns. He stuck with his budget. He had a plan. It meant doing everything possible to make sure he had a long NFL career while using it to set up the rest of his life.
Quin saved 70 percent of his take-home pay each year and invested in well-known, publicly traded companies. He and his family lived on the remaining 30 percent, about $6,000 a month — $72,000 per year — the first three years of his career.
Not flashy, but effective. And it led to his monetary success.
Occasionally, Quin had a higher budget if he got what he called “unaccounted-for” money for doing an appearance that wasn’t planned. He and his wife would use that money on vacations and other potential luxuries they didn’t initially budget for. Other than that, it was always about the plan.
“I’ve always trusted in the plan and never really let other people sway me away from it,” said Quin, now a safety on the Detroit Lions. “I like to call it tunnel vision. It’s not good to have tunnel vision on the field, because you need to know what’s going on around you, but when you’re in life, especially in this field, you need to have tunnel vision, because you see so many guys around you buying cars, buying jewelry, doing this, spending money, talking about the money that they spend.
“And you’re sitting there like, ‘Man, I’m living off this much money every month, and this cat spending this much money every day.'”
Quin majored in business at the University of New Mexico. He understood the power of investing and creating generational wealth. The 70/30 save-spend strategy brought to him by his financial advisor, Humble Lukanga, made sense.
The two met sitting next to each other in a 7 a.m. business ethics class at New Mexico. Quin eventually hired Lukanga, who has many other NFL clients, and Quin bought into the save-spend strategy immediately and carried it through to now, even with a lucrative second NFL contract.
“That 30 percent just gets a little bit bigger,” Lukanga said. “You have a little bit more breathing room, but the discipline is the same. If you can’t save on your first contract, you’re probably not going to save on your second contract. So the key is to develop. First, you form habits, and then habits form you.”
Quin entered the league wanting to build his wealth, although he wasn’t initially thinking about investments. After signing a free-agent deal in Detroit in 2013, Quin decided to venture into a more risky investment world — private equity, using 10 to 20 percent of his wealth to fund private, up-and-coming businesses.
Think “Shark Tank” with a specific plan.
“We like companies that we feel can change the world,” Quin said. “That can make the world a better place, so that’s one thing we look at as well: Can this company change the world?
“If we feel that way and we believe in the company and we believe in the direction that they are going and the people that are behind it, I feel a lot more comfortable.”
So far, the strategy has worked. Quin and Lukanga estimate a five-year projection where his private portfolio could match the money he has made in the NFL. When his contract expires after the 2017 season, Quin will have earned more than $21 million, before taxes, in his eight-year career.
Quin understands the risk of private equity investment, a reason he diversifies his dollars in multiple companies. In the offseason, he’ll sometimes study two or three deals per month, starting by reading it over to see if it hits certain metrics he has for investments.
If those things happen, he talks with Lukanga and does more research. He’ll often chat with his wife, asking her opinion on a potential product without divulging there could be an investment opportunity.
Quin has to believe in the product and that the company fits his “change and better the world” philosophy. It is part of what attracted him to three of his companies: Health Warrior, a company that makes food out of chia; pawTree, a customized pet nutrition company; and PeerWell, an app that helps people prehab before joint replacement surgery to aid in their post-surgery recovery.
Quin is being smart with his private equity approach. He knows some of his investments will fail. If he hits on an average number of deals, he believes he has put himself in good shape. Some of the failed deals end up as a successful return on investment because of knowledge gained.
He might have made his money in the short-term NFL world, but he’s in the investment game for the long haul. Because in business, that’s often how you win, and that, as always, is Quin’s plan.
“To sit here and say I’ve played for eight years and made this much money, I was in a couple investments for five years and kind of made the same amount of money,” Quin said. “It’s kind of like having a double NFL career, you know.
“It’s one of those things that’s very exciting. Hopefully, everything continues to work out great and I can be one of those stories that they say, ‘You know what, I probably made more money investing than I made playing football.'”