Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Athlete Wealth Management (AWM Capital) LLC.
Co-Founder and Partner
Athlete Wealth Management (AWM Capital) LLC
As former professional athletes, Brandon Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CIPM and Erik Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CKA®, are no strangers to hard work and teamwork. Their experiences as professional baseball players inspired and informed their decision to build a wealth management firm that broke the mold of a traditional financial advice model for athletes.
“The world does not need another ex-professional athlete selling financial advice; there are tons of ex-athletes selling life insurance and trying to give financial advice. But we saw the gap—former athletes who understand the experience and have the financial expertise and ability to guide athletes through their [sports] careers and lives after. The ability to manage and maintain their wealth for the long-term, to help them reach their financial goals, that is what we built and provide through Athlete Wealth Management (AWM Capital) LLC.”
Brandon and Erik witnessed firsthand the startling statistics – athletes are four times more likely to file bankruptcy, twice as likely to be divorced and frequently end up squandering millions due to fraud, high fees and unqualified advice. The brothers agree, there is no shortage of horror stories of athletes making mistakes with their money. From blowing through everything before they retire, to getting injured and not having adequate protection, to getting misled by unqualified advisors.
“I experienced this on a small scale,” explained Erik. “In 2005, I signed a professional contract which included a small signing bonus, but I trusted a kind of a regular stockbroker who had worked with other professional athletes but did not have any advanced designations or expertise. I watched him trade left and right, investing me in a bunch of individual financial services stocks, and I lost everything that I had based on his really bad financial advice.”
“For us, we’re really on a mission to change the culture of how athletes use their wealth. This is our passion and why we are pursuing this as a life calling,” continued Erik. “Whether it is the professional athlete or a founder who had a big exit – we have all heard the stats around lottery winners – when your wealth comes as a byproduct of doing something that really isn’t driven from business acumen you don’t necessarily have the skill-sets and the habits to be able to make wise financial decisions.”
The brothers understand that the type of advice and guidance needed by athletes, founders or just young individuals who come into a lot of money, is advanced. They explained that these clients need deep expertise in tax planning and estate planning, but they also need the day-to-day advice.
“As former professional athletes, we leveraged what we know about what it takes to become elite and channeled that into building our skills, knowledge and expertise as wealth advisors,” said Brandon. This is why they pursued the CPWA® certification as an advanced designation
“[The CPWA® certification] is worth its weight in gold, it’s definitely been the best program that either one of us has ever gone through from a continuing education and expertise standpoint. We quickly fell in love with the program’s content and the people involved in teaching the course. After completing the course, we saw immediate benefits from the program,” said Erik. “The most significant benefits being around estate planning. The advanced estate planning techniques that we learned through the CPWA® process helped us in implementation.”
“The second most notable thing apart from estate planning was the family governance pieces of what we do,” added Brandon. “The training through the [CPWA®] program provided quite a few tools to have certain conversations with clients.”
Brandon and Erik said that one of the CPWA program derivatives was not only building strategies for how they help their clients, but they have also developed a system for helping to educate their client’s children in building skills on daily money management.
This holistic and long-term view of wealth is one of the cornerstones of their firm, as stated in their manifesto, which states: “wealth is comprehensive – money, investments, definitely. But it’s also about your social impact. Your community. Your family. Your friends. Your wellness. It is about doing what you love and leaving a legacy.”
Erik explained, “I think that what really drove Brandon and I in our pursuit is the understanding that money is just a tool. It is a means, not the end, and what we are really doing is helping families and individuals clarify what their priories are. Then Brandon and I look at how we can align their assets, both financial assets and their human capital.”
Brandon added, “We believe the biggest driver of their net worth is to accomplish those priorities, and so to have a successful outcome, you have to start with the person first. This is the piece that drives why we go to work every day.”
Brandon and Erik also shared their best advice for new advisors. “If anything, 2020 taught us community is extremely valuable,” said Erik. “That is an incredible thing about the Institute. There are many very successful advisors and people who are willing to give up their time, provide mentorship, and have conversations. It is important to remember your network is your net worth, and that is your monetary net worth and your career development.” Adding, “Dig in, show up and add value to the organization, add value to those people that you want to access and pursue expertise. And if you do those things, you’ll look up a decade from now and be very successful.”
“Fortunately, we get these opportunities to talk to quite a few of these newcomers to the industry, a few every month, because they reach out,” added Brandon. “Erik and I and I always tell them ‘Focus on the expertise side of things.’ The other part of it is, having talked with a lot of these people, is to ask questions and then be quiet. Many people are willing to give you advice, but if you are always talking and making your pitch, you’re probably missing a lot from the person you’re trying to learn from. We were fortunate that when we got the industry, we were able to talk with some of the most successful advisors in the business, and we’ve learned a lot from them and still do when we get the opportunity to see some of these folks like Joe Duran speak or get the opportunity to interact one-on-one. Even now, we are always trying to learn.”
Learn more about the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) Certification here.