Jedidiah Collins led a bit of a secret life during his time as an NFL player.
Being released a dozen times meant he was always acutely aware of the thin line between being a contributing member of an NFL team and being out of work. He never wanted to provide a coach or a front office reason to think he wasn’t wholly invested in being a pro football player. So, even while appearing in 47 games in three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, he largely kept to himself that he was studying to become a certified financial planner (CFP).
“I’d hide some of my study books on road trips,” Collins said. “You know, reading on the bus, planes, things like that.”
After four seasons on active NFL rosters, Collins ultimately found himself on that out-of-work side of the line. But his private preparations put him on the right track, and in March of this year he released his book “Your Money Vehicle: How to Begin Driving to Financial Freedom!”
Though Collins was an accounting major at Washington State, his book was the culmination of a fascination with finances that did not really start until he spent the majority of his first NFL paycheck on an engagement ring.
He considers it a sound investment now – he and his wife, Kiera, have been married 11 years – but it also made him realize something important about himself.
“That check and that decision woke me up to the reality; I had no idea about money,” Collins said. “I had no relationship with money, and it really alarmed me to the point that I, standing in an NFL locker room being an accounting major. If I didn’t have these answers, I knew for a fact most of the guys around me didn’t.”
And that is the ultimate mission with his book. When he first started his work as a CFP, his job was to manage wealth. It was not until later that he realized what he wanted to do was actually something quite different.
“My fire, my excitement wasn’t gonna come from helping the 1%, helping wealthy people get wealthier,” Collins said. “My excitement came from going out to high schools, going to universities, going to companies and teaching financial workshops – teaching people not how to be wealthy, but how to create wealth.
“After about two or three years of going out and doing that, I decided to launch my own business. A business around financial empowerment, where I take education, I give clear action, and I give people the confidence to go and create their own plan and their own journey to financial freedom.”
He called his business Rookie to Veteran, a nod to his journey as a football player and the practical applications found therein toward his financial literacy message.
“I combine the behaviors I stole from veterans in the NFL, the behaviors of success, with the principles of money that I’ve learned as a CFP,” Collins said. “I get to combine my two worlds, the NFL and (financial planning), into showing people how to begin their financial plans.”