Nick Schuessler ’16, M ’17

By Sara Ann Hutto ’17

Schuessler knows the ins and outs of finance in the world of professional sports, knowledge that he’s now sharing with current Clemson Football players

Q You played quarterback for Clemson Football, and earned your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. What career steps did you take after Clemson?
A I had an opportunity to play in the NFL with the Steelers, briefly. Got cut and then came back home to Atlanta, where I transitioned into a job working at Deloitte. I spent about a year there, but I missed competitive sports. I knew there had to be a career that would bridge the business and sports worlds together, so I decided to take a leap of faith and join a wealth management firm in Atlanta. I now lead the professional athletes and entertainment division at our firm, where I have the opportunity to work with a bunch of my former teammates who have gone on to have careers in the NFL.
Q What services do you typically provide for these professional athletes?
A We like to describe ourselves as the financial quarterbacks. We come up with a financial plan, kind of like a game plan. We first begin with the client’s contract and use it to help create a plan for every dollar they earn, which then allows us to construct a portfolio that enables them to accomplish their goals and life’s mission. Generally, this involves investment strategy and asset allocation, comprehensive tax planning, cash flow management, risk analysis, estate planning, and more. With athletes, you’re usually working with a younger demographic, so a lot of time is spent educating and preventing costly mistakes. Our goal is to help them create generational wealth and to make sure that when they leave the game, they’ll have everything they need to not only provide but also live a life of fulfillment.

“To be able to come back and add a little bit of value … has been so incredibly gratifying.”

Q You’re returning to Clemson Football through P.A.W. (Passionate About Winning) Journey, the leadership initiative developed for football players. What is your contribution to the program?
A Last year, I reached out to Jeff Davis, who is a mentor of mine, and said, “Jeff, y’all are doing all of this amazing stuff with the program and for the players, but when I was there, I wished we had a business, investing and budgeting class.” He agreed and allowed me and one of the partners at my firm to pitch our vision. Then, we worked together to develop the curriculum for the classes that we use today.
Through P.A.W. Journey, we teach a four-week, nonmandatory program in the spring centered around things like budgeting, credit, basic investing and what the business side of the NFL is like for a player. We also touch on things like taxes, credit, IRAs/401ks, loans and mortgages. We also return in the summer and offer more one-on-one help, which gives the players an opportunity to say, “Hey, here’s my personal situation. Can you help me with this?”
Q What does it mean to you to be able to return to Clemson and give back?
A To be able to come back and add a little bit of value to the players who are sitting in the same seat that I once sat has been so incredibly gratifying.
There’s a stereotype around these athletes that if they don’t make it to the NFL or NBA or MLB, they have failed and can’t succeed at anything else. Have I reached the pinnacle of success this early in my career? No, not even close. But I’d like to think that I’ve been able to take the lessons I’ve learned from the coaches and on the football field and applied them to my life and career today. That’s been something for me, coming back and getting in front of the players and saying, “Listen, it’s great to make it to the NFL; what an amazing accomplishment. I hope everyone gets that opportunity. But if you don’t, you can still go out there and be just as successful at something else.” That’s the narrative I want to create.