As we continue our look at player development programs around the world, we speak with former Welsh international Ben Broster, now Player Network Manager with Provale in France. He looks at the importance of financial planing for players… and a new savings scheme setup by his organisation.
If there’s one thing most rugby players can be sure of, it’s that when they leave the game, they may not have the same earning potential that they had before they hung up the boots.
When it comes to finances, Player Development Managers (PDMs) are eager to make sure players are aware of the drop-off in earnings that they may face and the main message is to be prepared.
Enter Ben Broster, a former front-rower with two Welsh caps, who played for Saracens, Llanelli Scarlets, Northampton Saints and Wasps, before moving to France where he played with both Biarritz and their rivals Bayonne.
He stayed in the French south-west where he works for Provale, the French player’s association, and is on a mission to ensure players are aware of the need to prepare for their exit from the game.
“Whatever stage you finish your career, you are essentially gonna step into the unknown,” he said.
“You’ve been in this bubble for 5, 10 or 15 years sometimes and the real world is an unknown. I think you have to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best, without trying to scare people.”
“I think a big thing that guys really do underestimate is your earning potential. The difference between rugby and wages in the real world are, are night and day. There are not too many players that are gonna be able to walk into a job earning similar money to what they’ve been used during their rugby career,” said Broster.
Some of the advice Broster and PDMs give to players can be viewed as simple advice but it’s important to get the basics right.
“Its not only about stashing money away, but, take for example, property. Have I got somewhere to live? Do I know what I’m gonna do? Is my partner gonna work? All the things like that, practical things that previously had to thought of because you’ve earned well enough to just look after everything and concentrate on rugby.”
Broster, whose career was eventually ended through injury, tells players to avail of the networks that exist in the game.
“Talk to the sponsors, go to the after-match, speak to business people. Ask them what their business is about. What do they do on a daily basis? We’ve all got friends that work in the real world. What do you guys do on a normal day? Like, like how do you spend your time?
It seems really basic stuff, but I think until you’ve actually experienced it, it’s totally alien. Some guys who’ve come out of an academy system into a pro setup, then spent maybe 10 years there – apart from going into the office to sign your contract, you may never have been into an office before! You may never have done a job interview, you may never have written a CV.
“These are kind of things that are everyday normal things to people in the real world, but to, to rugby players are potentially completely alien.
Provale exist in a market where money is not in short supply, but are keen to stress to players that it won’t be there forever. The association have started up a savings scheme for players in the last year as a way of preparing French professional players for the future.
“We’re trying to encourage guys to continue and develop. And also the other thing is that the world is changing so quickly. We’ve put in place a kind of a pension scheme.
Nous ne sommes que des êtres humains… Pas des machines. Retour sur la cellule psychologique de @ProvaleRugby sur rugby magazine au travers du témoignage de Loic Charlon, accompagné par Maylis Bonin et intervention de @julientomas qui mettent en lumière les différentes réalités… pic.twitter.com/TZ3hisB0q1— Mathieu Giudicelli (@M_Giudicelli) April 11, 2023
“It’s essentially a saving scheme whereby players put a little bit of their salary every month into a savings fund. For every euro you put in, the club puts the same in and at the end of your career, you get back what has accumulated.
“It’s only just started. It’s not an enormous amount of money that’s going in every month but the idea is that after 10 years of paying into this fund, and it’s not gonna be a life-changing amount of money, but it’s something to get you started.
“Whether it’s starting a project, starting a business or even helping you relocate to the other side of the country or the other side of the world, something like that can really help when you finish up.”
“Players need to prepare financially for life after rugby”— InternationalRugbyPlayers (@IntRugbyPlayers) April 17, 2023
We speak to former Welsh international Ben Broster, player network manager with @ProvaleRugby, about post-career earning potential and a saving scheme set up by their association 🎥
Read more: https://t.co/fCSq920kfj pic.twitter.com/i9Mr73pWqz
Not every player will need this scheme and a lot of players will invest wisely during their careers. But careers are short and Broster has seen what can happen when players don’t think about their post-career finances.
“Yeah, I mean, that is sadly a reality for some people. There are guys who’ve earned enough money and they’ve been smart with investments. They’ve bought property, they’ve kept in touch with business contacts or they’ve had a family business to go about something like that.
“But it can be a slippery slope if you’ve not prepared. I think that’s the message. And it’s never too early to prepare because, let’s face it, your career could finish tomorrow,
“I think the, the earlier you prepare and the early you get into that kind of mindset, you can set yourself up for a positive transition to the next chapter.”
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