Reggie Jackson believes the most important part of being a financial planner is communication. The 29-year-old is the senior vice president of Capital Advisors Consulting, a firm that works exclusively with the bank accounts of professional athletes, and during that time has supported a host of up-and-coming clients like the New Yorks Knicks. RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and PJ Washington of the Charlotte Hornets. Jackson will take care of all the boring stuff; he will provide stock and bond expertise, schedule VC meetings and budget for contracts. But by far the most important part of the job is making sure his clients value his opinion, and that can only be achieved through the power of networking, reliability and, well, affability. As a 29-year-old black man, Jackson sees himself as a peer to his clients; similar to the friends, brothers and cousins they grew up with. The old white faces that fill the rest of the industry just don’t claim the same seriousness.
Jackson himself was an outstanding high school basketball player who played on the same varsity team as Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall. Wall helped Jackson open some of the doors to the island world of the NBA clubhouse, and the two remain close to this day. Jackson never has the final say on what his clients do with their money, but if he does his job well, they’ll at least value his opinion before pulling the trigger on a promising new investment. We’ve talked about that, along with the increasingly diverse branding options available to anyone under an NBA contract, and the fine art of saying no to friends and family who want to delve into their wallet. customer.
When did you become interested in financial management, especially for athletes? Has this always been your goal?
I inherited it throughout my career. My dad always told me to study finance, so I always had that mindset, and with the friendships I made in high school and college, it caused a shift in my mind. to focus on finance and also sports. When you look at the industry, there aren’t many individuals who look like me. But the athletes themselves, they look like me. I wanted to bring a different flavor. That’s how I ended up here.
You are right. The typical image of a financial advisor tends to be an old white man. Do you think being a young black man gave you advantages in this profession?
I think that definitely has major appeal. Not only do I have the knowledge to do the job for these guys, but I’m also more approachable in a way. To players and family members. Parents will meet me and say, “I see my son in you.” Athletes might see their older brother in me, or someone who’s just cool. At the forefront of fashion, but also able to give advice on saving and investing.
Is it important to develop a relationship with your client’s family in this area of work?
It’s super important. People underestimate that. You can do a good job with your client, but if his mother doesn’t like you, you get into troubled waters if a situation doesn’t go well. These guys rely on me to relieve them of the pressure of answering questions or finding solutions to family problems. Or even just being the person who says to a family member, “No, right now we can’t afford to do X, Y, or Z, but we’ll get to that later.” Also, when you want to get a message across to these guys, since I work for them, I might not always be the best person to get that message across. When you have a great relationship with a family member, you can adapt it to them and hit it from both angles.
You talked a lot about this transition period, where a player goes from college to the NBA and all of a sudden makes a ton of money, because it’s really tricky. What is your strategy there? How do you try to keep your customers grounded?
You try to do it. There is no way to control the process. This is a common misconception. People say, “You have people watching your money, how can you go broke?” At the end of the day, it’s always that person’s money. I can’t hold him to ransom. I can’t hide it. It comes down to the relationship. When guys really like and respect you, they’ll listen to you a little more. They will also learn by trial and error. One of my men celebrated his birthday and he wanted to buy a new watch and some furniture. He was like, “What’s the best way to buy this?” I’m like, “Well, the couch is $12,000 and the watch is $28,000, do you really want to spend $40,000 in one day?” He was like, “Dang, maybe I don’t,” and we went from there. You want to give them some freedom, they’ve worked so hard to get here, but you also have to teach them the importance of looking ahead. They understand that even though they are making a lot of money right now, they are not working as long as you and me. We have to treat these guys like they might never get another contract. One of my clients is about to get a max contract, but he hasn’t got it yet. So we can’t start moving as if we already have it. Injuries and unfortunate situations can always surface.
It’s funny how this work can be both “What stocks should we watch?” and also, “Maybe we shouldn’t splurge on this watch.”
That’s right, you don’t have to complicate things. Stocks are stocks, bonds are bonds, budgets are budgets, but if you can’t communicate effectively with your client, it doesn’t matter.
I imagine that a lot of investment opportunities present themselves to you. In general, how often do you say no to these?
I will tell you this. That’s a lot of no’s, and a little Yes. I see it this way: if I advise my athlete to accept this investment deal and it goes wrong, not only will I lose money, but I could also be fired. I will pitch guys VC deals all the time just to get the word out. But really pull the trigger? It’s not too often. It’s hard. Some of the pitches I receive are from friends of mine. I could invest in it if it was my money, I believe in it, but for my client’s money? I try to be careful.
When you set a budget for an athlete and tell them they have X amount of money to spend this month, are there any guys who say to themselves, “You know, I really appreciate that You gave me an idea of my financial situation.”
I think so. I’m lucky to have clients who value my opinion, and when we come up with a budget, we boil it down to their spending habits and lifestyle. This challenges them. If I have a budget with what you spend and what I recommend, that gives them something to strive for. If I say, “You’re going to be worth $4 million in two years, but if you cut your recreational spending, you could be $4.5 million.” Guys like it.
The NBA is such a different ecosystem than it was 10 years ago. So many guys in the league have their own media companies. A bunch of them are streaming on Twitch. There are so many different revenue streams and opportunities for branding. When you talk to veterans of the money management industry, do you feel like this job is changing over time?
I think it’s a different game. I joke about this with my CEO. We have overhauled many of our systems. It’s not just superstar athletes who are changing the way things are done. I have a guy who went undrafted, on a two-way contract, ended up getting a guaranteed contract this season, and he made a decent amount of money off the court. He’s the 12th man on the bench, but he streams video games and has made a ton of money doing it. It’s a new world. You have to adapt.
How are you able to have tougher conversations with athletes, when, say, their dad wants to open a restaurant and you don’t think it’s a wise investment? It’s beyond the money, of course. It’s an emotional issue as much as a financial one. So how do you navigate?
My mom always makes fun of me for being blunt. My peers say so too. I can not help myself. So I think it makes difficult conversations easier.
Do you still play with John Wall?
He went to great lengths with rehab, and he’s over 100% now. But I haven’t stepped on the court with John in a while. I always tell him garbage, like, “Remember high school? I used to give you buckets.” He’s actually the reason I quit basketball. I was progressing, and I was on his team, and I was like, “Damn man, I’m never going to get playing time behind this guy.” This caused me to re-evaluate my career as early as grade 11.
This article was originally published on