Photo: Heather Khalifa
Brandon Copeland, a linebacker for the New York Jets, prides himself on being able to save nearly 90% of his earned income. Doing so has helped him to see the value in planning ahead for his retirement, so much so that he has developed a financial literacy seminar at his alma mater of the University of Pennsylvania to enlighten more young people on how to make smart investment decisions and build their credit.
By intentionally making stable long-term investments and living off of about 10-15% of his earnings, the linebacker is planning for the day that his NFL career will end, yet he’ll still need to provide a comfortable life for himself. In an interview with ESPN, Copeland shares “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, you’re going to have to use something in this class."
Copeland became inspired to create the class after having a casual conversation with a former teammate where they discussed various mistakes that they both made with money in their early 20s. The 27-year-old then teamed up with Dr. Brian Peterson, director of the Makuu Black Cultural Center at UPenn, to co-teach the course that he’s nicknamed "Life 101."
Admittedly not an expert on financial literacy matters, Copeland does bring a wealth of other knowledge and experiences to contribute to the course. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, interned for UBS investment bank for two summers in college, plus worked on Wall Street during the 2017 off-season. He also opened a real estate company with his wife in 2018, gaining experience in flipping houses.
"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," CNBC reports Copeland saying.
The inaugural section of the course started this spring semester and was designed to “cover the realities of life we all have to deal with.” Copeland, who also hosts free free football camps for young athletes, has educated himself over the years and learned that the more you can set aside with compound interest, the better for one’s future.
In the words of the late great Maya Angelou, "When you learn, teach, when you get, give." We salute you Brandon for doing both.