Wealth For Life

Now that the glitz and glamour are in the past, Adkins has learned to live a lifestyle that is in step with his present salary. Adkins is currently the director of track and field at the New Balance Track and Field Center  at the Armory in New York City—an indoor track and field complex that caters to mostly urban student athletes. Adkins has held the position since 2006 and, among other duties, is responsible for hiring coaches and overseeing the track and field program at the athletic center. He now earns about $70,000 a year, and additionally earns up to $7,000 for speaking engagements. Prior to this job, Adkins was a track coach at Columbia University. “I live a modest lifestyle and seldom splurge on the expensive things I did when I was on the international circuit,” he says. “I rarely eat out and I take the train to work instead of driving.”

Last year, the former Olympian moved back into the house he grew up in with his mother in West Hempstead, Long Island, after deciding to sell his co-op in The Bronx. Adkins says he made the move back to his childhood home to save money and to care for his mother after his father passed away in 2006. The house sits on a street named in his honor—Derrick Adkins Lane. The township renamed the street after he won the gold medal in 1996.

Adkins says he is fortunate that he has managed to avoid the financial pitfalls and disasters that have befallen other athletes—both current and former. Despite having multimillion-dollar contracts and product endorsements, many athletes make headlines succumbing to home foreclosures and even poverty. Adkins vowed that he would run a different race. He made a promise to himself that he would be more responsible with his money.

Single, with no children, Adkins says some of the financial hardships that former athletes have endured come from spending foolishly and not planning wisely for the future—long after their days as superstar athletes have ended. “I don’t understand why a single man or woman needs a mansion with 50 rooms or five luxury cars,” he says. “It’s impractical and makes no sense.” Adkins says that many superstar athletes often come from humble backgrounds, where buying and spending freely wasn’t an option. Consequently, they engage in destructive spending habits. “I have made some risky investments in the past and have lost and wasted some money,” he says. “Now I invest in CDs and similar modest and low-risk investments.” Adkins credits his agent as well as his family for schooling him in the basics of sound money management and living within his means.

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