Photo by Chris Hamilton
Retired NFL offensive tackle Tony Jones and his wife, Kamilla, have heard the horror stories over the years about professional athletes who lose their fortunes within a few years of retiring. In fact, in 2009 Sports Illustrated reported that 78% of NFL players will have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress within two years of leaving the league.
That’s why the Joneses set up a 10-year plan with a financial adviser during Tony’s playing days and invested in several entrepreneurial ventures, including restaurants, shopping malls, and a barbershop. The couple also managed to save about 95% of Tony’s salary and lived in relatively moderate 2,000- and 3,000-square-foot homes during his playing days. Tony focused on developing a long-term savings and investment plan early in his career, and the family lives on the income generated from their small business investments.
This frugality enabled the couple and their three children to live comfortably in a sprawling $2.85 million mansion in Duluth, Georgia. And perhaps the best part: They were able to fully pay off the mortgage on their dream home. “We followed all of our plans up until he retired and we met our 10-year goals four years early,” says Kamilla, 42, adding that she was never worried about Tony mismanaging the $15 million to $20 million he earned over the 13 years he played in the NFL. Tony, 45, is a two-time Super Bowl champion who began his NFL career in 1988 with the Cleveland Browns and ended it with the Denver Broncos in 2001.
Among the family’s entrepreneurial investments is Salon Studio Suites, which offers 20 individual mini-salons for hairstylists and other beauty professionals under one roof. Launched in 2005, Kamilla’s business generated about $200,000 in 2010. Since she opened the business, current NFL and NBA players along with business executives have approached Kamilla about becoming a franchisee, and she has even helped seven people open salons around the country. “That’s what made me even think about franchising Salon Studio Suites, because it’s a need and people are coming to me because of my success and my track record,” says Kamilla. However, neither Kamilla nor Tony knew what it took to become a franchisor. Then they discovered the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative.