According to ESPN, the average 2013 salary for a Major League Baseball player was $3.39 million. Think that sounds like a lot of money? Some baseball players earn over more than $20 million. Deadspin has details on 2014 MLB salary information by player, in case you wanted to see how much your favorites earn.
The average MLB player will have a career that lasts 5.6 years, and if he earns the average $3.39 million will end his career with $18.98 million in gross income.
But many MLB players continue their careers for much longer than the 5 year average; New York Yankees player Derek Jeter, who is retiring in 2014, first began playing for the Yankees in 1995. As Deadspin notes, Jeter’s 2014 salary is an enviable $12,000,000.
Major League Baseball players who retire are benefited not only by their high salary, but also their pension, which they are entitled to receive after only 43 days of service to their team. The team support staff, from administrative assistants to front-office executives, aren’t so lucky; in 2014 the MLB owners voted to allow individual teams to cut staff pensions if they chose, although they are still required to maintain pensions for baseball players.
Many baseball players add to their income both during and after their careers by appearing in endorsements or by playing themselves on TV shows. (Derek Jeter, for example, once hosted Saturday Night Live.) All of these income opportunities, plus the high salary and annual pension, suggest that MLB players are well positioned for a comfortable retirement.
When MLB players do have financial difficulties, they’re often along the lines of overspending, tax evasion, money laundering, or gambling debts—think of Pete Rose, with both gambling addictions and tax evasion problems, or Lenny Dykstra, who went to prison for various kinds of financial fraud.
Minor league baseball players, on the other hand, often have more financial problems than their major league counterparts. Many minor league players earn salaries below the poverty level, making saving for the future—not to mention for retirement—much more difficult. However, there’s always the dream of moving up to the major leagues and hitting a financial home run.
In many ways, that’s like a lot of us; we’re working hard, earning money, thinking about retirement, making our investments, and hoping that we’ll play well enough to be financially successful. Not all of us will earn the $3.36 million income of the average MLB baseball player, but we can all think about how our salaries, our 401(k)s, our IRAs, any second jobs or additional employment opportunities, and potential promotions will all come together towards a solid retirement.
After all, you don’t have to be a baseball player to know that when retirement is coming across the plate, you had better be ready to hit it out of the park.
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