The massive salaries and endorsements of sports stars do not guarantee a comfortable life — evidence suggests the opposite is true for many pro athletes. Sports Illustrated estimated that a staggering 80% of retired NFL players end up broke within the first three years after retirement. Fortune magazine cites research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) showing that 15.7% of retired NFL players declare bankruptcy within twelve years of retirement, which seems a bit more reasonable.
Even so, that’s a lot of athletes burning through a lot of money and doing it for a wide variety of reasons. Financial difficulties all go back to bad decisions, and those bad decisions are not limited to the men’s professional sports, either. A few of the greatest female sports stars have also suffered bankruptcy-inducing losses, including the ones listed below.