Headlines about footballers receiving bad financial advice are sadly common, but one ex-professional chose to use his bad experience as inspiration to become one.
Daniel Nardiello, a former Manchester United, Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers footballer, is a financial adviser at Klipp Wealth Management, having passed his exams while at the St James’s Place (SJP) academy.
He spoke to International Adviser about his journey from footballer to financial adviser.
“There are a couple of reasons I became an adviser,” Nardiello said. “Football was a dream, I managed to play for 18 years; but, unfortunately, you can’t play forever, so I had to do something else. I didn’t earn enough money to completely retire and, ultimately, I had to move on to another profession.
“One of the key drivers for me joining the sector was, when I signed for Queens Park Rangers, I got some so-called advice from a so-called adviser.
“Long story short, I ended up being in a bit of a dodgy scheme, I ended up losing a bit of money. Ever since that point, I’ve kept a keen focus and eye on my own money.
“I had a friend that went into the financial services world, who I now work with at SJP, and basically he looked after me during my football career after that episode, and I obviously saw the benefit in looking after your money and preparing for later life.
“It was key that you looked at the money with the right company, with the right people to help benefit your future. I thought I could add value in this area. Towards the end of my career, speaking to my friend, he said ‘why don’t you come and join the team’?
“I passed my exams all first time, and it was quite a smooth transition from football to finance.”
Despite the number of cases of bad advice in football, companies are trying to fix the problem.
Recently, Succession Wealth launched a sports and entertainment arm to help individuals in those sectors with their wealth and financial education.
But Nardiello believes more needs to be done within the game to help stop financial exploitation of stars.
“When I got taken advantage of, I managed to sue the company and got 95% of my money back,” he added. “But I still got done, and the football world’s rife with it, absolutely inundated with people trying to take advantage of young footballers with money.
“I think it always will be, so it’s about education for the young lads and getting the right kind of advice to these football players.
“But ultimately, people are going to be making their own decisions, and it’s all well and good having the education or being told, but if someone comes in and tell you can make fortunes, some people are sucked into it. Usually, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
“It’s a difficult one to combat because there are a lot of people in the game that are looking to take advantage of these football players.”
Going from football to advice is becoming a well-trodden career path, and the former Wales international did not have many issues making the jump.
Nardiello said: “I think any transition from any job to another is not going to be easy. I say it was a very smooth transition, but I’m still learning in each and every day now, four or five years later.
“It was a late decision because I didn’t start studying until towards the end of my career and then I had the offer to go to the SJP academy.
“In football, you come across all kinds of people, different kinds of cultures from different countries and it’s about working together as a team. You’ve got the knowledge; you know the products and services and what helps each individual client going forward, but ultimately, you’ve got to talk to them on their level, find out what they want, learn about their lives and their objectives.
“I think with football, that’s something that you do naturally because you get to know a whole wide range of people in a changing room, so people skills are a big part of both jobs.
“In football, it’s all about winning, especially the top level. If you don’t win games, you’re not successful. It’s the same as an adviser. If you don’t strive to be better and get these clients on board, you won’t be successful. It’s very similar but a completely different industry.”
Make the move
Nardiello also said that although sports people can “come into the industry” with ease, “it’s not for everyone”.
“I’ve also spoken to football lads who’ve looked at the first couple of books that they have to study and it’s mind boggling for them,” he added. “But coaching wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it or like it at all.
“People have got to find what’s right for them and it’s tough for these footballers because you think careers will last forever; but, before you know it, it is over and if you’ve not prepared it can be difficult.”
For any potential second careerists looking to join the industry, the ex-Machester United player offers this advice: “You’re going to have to study, you have to work hard to pass the exams and that’s tough. There’s no two ways about it.
“Then you’ve got to start from the bottom, build yourself up and be prepared. You’ve got to make sure that you have got a little bit of money behind you, so you can pay your bills and look after your family.
“I think anyone can make the transition, they just got to be prepared that it’s not an easy, smooth road and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. But once you get to a certain level, it can be a very successful career.”