College football remains one of the most popular, most watched sports in the U.S. With 163 million fans watching on television and, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, 47 million attending in person each year, college football is second only to the National Football League in terms of core fans across all sports.1

From the college bowl celebrations to fantasy football leagues and Super Bowl parties, football is a permanent piece of Americana.

Of course, college eventually comes to an end and when it does, less than 2 percent of the 81,000 college football student athletes will go on to play professionally. That means, like the rest of us, they will have to deal with life in the real world when they graduate. And with that rite of passage comes the beginning of the transition to adulthood, and all that comes with it.2

A real job

The start of our working life brings many new decisions. From choosing that first job to deciding on health benefits and whether to enroll in the company 401k plan—there’s a lot to figure out.

A real place to live

While you may not be able to shed the need for a roommate, hopefully you’ll be able to take a step up from dorm living or campus housing. Whether it’s New York City, New Albany, OH, or Newfoundland, NJ, you’ll need to find a new place and navigate a new apartment lease—or maybe even a new mortgage.

A real partner

You might meet someone you want to share your life with. According to the American Community Survey, 32 percent of women and 21 percent of men will be married by the age of 25. Finding someone could mean merging your finances with theirs – which can be complicated. So discussing your goals and financial situation early on is a good way to start preparing for the future.

A real life

Whether you get married, stay single or co-habit, adapting to the real world as an independent adult will be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic and as things begin to return to normal , striking the right balance of work, healthy relationships with friends and family, regular exercise, and working toward your financial goals will all be part of being good at life.

Budgeting your time and money is an important exercise that helps you set and achieve common-sense goals that will help you get ahead—and stay ahead, such as:

  • Build an emergency fund – COVID-19 has raised awareness of the need to plan for unexpected events
  • Spend less than you make
  • Pay down any credit card balances, and/or keep paying them off every month
  • Look at ways to reduce your student loan
  • Save separately for discretionary purchases, including vacations
  • Save for retirement, and max out your 401k contributions (especially if your plan has a match)
  • Consider life insurance – even if you’re single, you may still have people who depend on you and your livelihood

Set a realistic overall budget that helps you work toward goals, and stick to it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build wealth—and protect those you love—even on a modest starting salary out of college.

And the next time you do get to watch a college game, just remember you have more in common with those incredibly talented athletes than you may think.


1 National Football Foundation Attendance Survey:

2 NCCA 2020 Probability of Competing Beyond High School Figures and Methodology:

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Media contact
Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499

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