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Dollars and Sense: Lofty Aspirations

I can still remember many years ago when my Dad would wake me and my brother Zach up, and drive us to our 5:00 or 6:00AM hockey practices. I recall moaning and groaning most mornings, but I can also remember my Dad always having a smile on his face as he sat in the stands watching two hours of back-to-back practices before heading straight to work for the day. 

What I didn’t realize or appreciate was the amount of dedication my parents provided for us to be able to play hockey and live out our dreams on the ice.

Fast forward 25 years later, I look back and realize how much hockey has given me over the years. As a kid I dreamed of playing university hockey and I was able to attend university in the States on a full ride scholarship where I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in International Business. 

Without hockey, I may have never experienced that nor would I have been able to build some of the international relationships that I now have. Since returning from the United States, I have developed a career as a Financial Advisor at investment dealer Raymond James Ltd. With the professional and personal experience I gained, I have dedicated myself to assisting families like mine, who would wake up early and stay up late just so their kids could enjoy playing the greatest game on earth.  

As much as I will always love and be passionate about hockey, my new passion is solely dedicating myself to fulfilling and organizing the financial dreams of these families.

From personal experience and speaking with a variety of other families with a sports background, the majority will spend more time planning a hockey tournament than creating a stable financial plan. However, most families who realize the importance of setting their financial goals will achieve 70% of their short and long term goals.  Despite this, I will always encourage families and their children to be actively involved in sports, particularly hockey where the benefits are unlimited, but I strongly encourage parents to take an active approach to teaching their kids the importance of a solid financial foundation, in addition to supporting their lifelong dreams of an NHL career.  Conversely, I hope that hockey parents aren’t solely banking on their kids making it to the NHL and taking care of them in their later years.

To give you an example, my brother, Zach Hamill, fulfilled his dreams of making it to the NHL on June 22nd, 2007. On that day, my entire family and I sat in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, to hear Zach’s name be called as a first round, 8th overall pick. We were overwhelmed with emotions unlike anything we ever felt before, and to be able to experience that as a family will forever be one of the greatest moments of our lives. 

However, the emotions didn’t stop there as Zach began the long process of contracts, a signing bonus, a salary and constant negotiations. Having had the experience and knowledge from past NHL players, I took it upon myself to assist Zach in the different financial stages of his career in the NHL. 

Much like when other athletes are drafted, we, as fans and onlookers, only see dollar signs. But let me give you a general perspective of an NHL salary and the length of a career. To everyone’s surprise, it is not as high or as long as we may think. A minimum 2017-18 NHL salary playing in Vancouver, B.C. looks like this:

Salary: $650,000
- $192,109 (federal tax) 
- $87,444 (Provincial tax) 
Total remaining: $370,447*
*This doesn’t include escrow tax (which each player must contribute to) in addition to agent fees. There are other variables but we won’t get into that today.

Simply put, the salary earned must last much longer for a professional hockey player than an average working professional. Here’s an example of an average hard earning citizen’s retirement plan matched against that of an average professional hockey player (assuming the hockey player doesn’t change careers after his/her hockey career is over):

Working Professional with a life expectancy of 85 years old:
- Retires at 60
- Retirement savings to last at least 25 years

Average Hockey player with a life expectancy of 85 years old:
- Retires at 30
- Retirement savings to last at least 55 years  

So on top of the almost impossible feat of making it to the NHL, even for those who make it, it’s not exactly a matter of sitting back and watching the money roll in. And I’m sure you’ve all heard the horror stories of mismanaged salaries, even for the players in the upper echelons. 

Regardless of profession, whether a family has aspirations for their children to make it into the NHL or not, it’s so important for clients to be stay informed and make smart decisions about their investments. 

I look forward to helping you make those decisions through this blog. Feel free to reach out, and comment below or contact HN on Twitter or Facebook with your financial questions. 

Raymond James Disclaimer:
Information in this article is from sources believed to be reliable, however, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete.  It is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or solicitation to buy or sell securities.  The views are those of the author, Carson Hamill, and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd.  Investors considering any investment should consult with their Investment Advisor to ensure that it is suitable for the investor’s circumstances and risk tolerance before making any investment decision.  Raymond James Ltd. is a Member - Canadian Investor Protection Fund.
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