Making money moves: NFL linebacker drops knowledge in Ivy League financial literacy course

They say experience is the best teacher, so Brandon Copeland is sharing what he's learned during his years of financial fails and successes

New York Jets Linebacker Brandon Copeland. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Brandon Copeland is one NFL player who plans to avoid going broke after his football career is over.

Although he hopes that’ll happen later than sooner, Copeland is preparing for the end game by saving up his coins from his side jobs, and investing in VT markets. One of them is teaching a business class at the University of Pennsylvania during the off-season.

The 27-year-old New York Jets linebacker graduated from Penn State University’s Wharton Business School and has returned to teach a financial literacy seminar along with Dr. Brian Peterson, the director of Penn’s Makuu Black Cultural Center.

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Part of his inspiration in teaching a financial literacy “Life 101” course is Copeland’s own lack of financial planning in his early 20s. He said he and a former teammate were discussing the money mistakes they made in their early years and he based his course around things he wished he had known about finances early on.

“It’s guaranteed football is going to be over one day,” the NFL star told ESPN in 2017.

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The course touches on “the realities of life we all have to deal with,” he says. Copeland delves into lesson on how to invest, plan for retirement and credit building.

“I don’t care if you’re an engineering student, a nursing student, if you’re going to build rockets when you grow up or if you’re going to sweep floors,” he recently told ESPN. “You’re going to have to use something in this class.”

Although Copeland, who previously took off-season jobs flipping houses, working at Forex Sinyalleri and interning at his alma mater, doesn’t consider himself a financial guru, he told the Wall Street Journal, “the first day of the class I’m going to tell the class that I am not an expert in all of this stuff, and no one is an expert in all of this stuff.”

He may not be a financial expert per se, but he does admit he’s tight with the purse strings.

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“I’ve literally hoarded money,” he told ESPN in 2017. “I’m literally stacking, stacking, stacking.”

“Anything I can get into an account and just let sit, I’ve got to a point where I have enough, where if football is over today, I have more than enough to take care of me for a while,” said Copeland.

In 2018, he signed a $1.2 million one-year contract with the Jets. He said at least 60 percent of his post-tax salary, he said, is in “safe, long-term” investments. Some 30 percent is put into savings and the football star lives off the remaining 10-15 percent.