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Retirement advice for Shaq

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Posted: 7 am ET

The big retirement news last week was the announcement Friday by basketball great Shaquille O'Neal that he's hanging up his high-tops.

He made the announcement via Twitter and later asked his 36 billion followers to help give him a new retirement nickname. If you have a good idea, he says to Tweet it to #shaqname. Somebody already suggested "The Big 401(k)."

What kind of retirement planning is Shaq likely to need?

For one thing, Shaq has different financial problems than many of us fans will struggle with when we retire. He's walking away from a lot more money than most of us could figure out how to spend. This year, he'll earn $36 million. That's $3 million per month -- a mind-boggling $98,630 per day.

Sports Illustrated published a piece a couple of years ago that said 60 percent of NBA players are in serious financial trouble within five years of retirement. But by all accounts, Shaq is an exception. He went through a messy divorce in 2008 that would have left some people's finances in ruins, but his support for charitable causes all over the country continues to grow.

I asked Ben Sullivan, who is a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group, what kind of advice he'd give Shaq. He responded with these wise suggestions for the "Big AARP" -- and for the rest of us, too:

  • Plan for cash flow by working backward from where you are now to see how much risk you'll have to take to maintain that level of spending.
  • Diversify your investments and take the time to understand their risks.
  • Don't try to hit investment home runs. Just maintain a solid asset base.
  • Investigate any advisers that you encounter to make sure that they are reputable.
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Bulane Teets
June 07, 2011 at 3:50 pm

6. Buy donuts. Lots of em.