Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Jacob Tamme
We had the opportunity to interview former NFLPA Player Representative Jacob Tamme. During his tenure in the NFL, Jacob played for the Colts, the Broncos and the Falcons. We discussed his time as a player rep as well as his current career as a financial advisor and life on his family’s cattle ranch in Kentucky.
What is your current career?
I'm a financial advisor. I do Financial Planning and Investment Management for clients at a registered investment advisory firm, Meridian Wealth Management based in Lexington, Kentucky. I work with some current players and some former players and some “regular folks” too. And I really, really love my job. I also love the connection that it helps me maintain with athletes and the game. I love the relationship that you build as you manage money for someone and help guide them down their financial path.
My family and I have a registered Angus cattle farm and we live on it. My wife and I came back home and built our house on some land that's been in my family for 112 years now. We raised Black Angus cattle, we are a seed stock operation, and we raise breeding stock for the cattle industry. My family has been raising cattle here since 1910. It’s deep down in my blood and we have a lot of fun with that as well.
How did you become involved with financial management, specifically for current and former players?
Back when I was at University of Kentucky, I graduated a little early and I had a decision to make whether I was going to continue with my education or just fulfill my schooling requirement in the easiest way possible. I always loved learning and still do. I had enjoyed some business classes I took as I was doing my communications major and decided I wanted to get a master's in business. So, I went and got my MBA during my last two years of playing football at Kentucky. And during that same timeframe, really began to get more and more interested in the investment space. I did an internship locally with a great advisor where I learned a little bit of the ropes. I stayed connected throughout my entire career playing in the NFL, with this financial world. I spent a couple of years after I was done playing on the farm, figuring out how I wanted to operate in this space. That's kind of how the journey has played out. It’s been so much fun for me. I love my job because it's a great combination of all the things that fascinate and intrigue me about markets, whether that's equity markets, bond markets, alternative investment markets, all the things. I stay up late at night, thinking of ways to build better portfolios, not sure that’s a normal obsession, but I do love that. To be able to pair the relationship part of my job as well as the planning piece and the financial health piece and being able to do all those things with players and former players is just a blast.
What was your experience being an NFLPA Player Representative and what were those responsibilities like?
It’s a really high honor to get to be a Player Rep. There was a point in my career where I knew that if I got nominated then I would be ready to do it and willing to do it. And I guess, to be really frank, it was a bit intimidating at first to know the responsibility of representing your teammates and having to stay abreast, more so than others, on the business side of the game. I thought it was a high honor to be asked and I thought it was a phenomenal experience to get to learn from and converse with the other Reps and represent the rest of the players across the league. It was a great experience.
Do you think that you learned anything during your time as a Player Rep that helps you in your career now?
Yeah, I think so. I think just learning more detail about the business side of the game was extremely helpful to me. For any player that is interested in becoming a businessman, on any level, whether that's an entrepreneur or whether that's in the corporate world, there are all kinds of different business ventures that I think being a player rep and learning more about the business side of the game, and the different relationships involved, like between ownership and labor, and all those dynamics, is just extremely helpful.
When you retired from football, did you have any idea of what you wanted to do? What was that transition like?
I always kind of knew that I wanted to either go into coaching or go into this. And this world is sort of financial coaching, in some respects. Both routes sort of involved working with people.
My wife, Allison, and I have been married 15 years now and both sets of grandparents are here in central Kentucky, so we wanted to be based here at home. And because of my interest and love of markets, financial planning, investment, and management, it made a lot of sense to come back here and do that.
I really wanted to make sure that I started in this business in the way that I wanted and in the format that I wanted. There's a lot of different ways to be a financial advisor; different people have different worlds within this space. I got an opportunity to do that as we got our farm operation started. My family's been in it for over 100 years and directly out of football, I got to spend a couple years full-time farming and getting our part of the operation started how I wanted it. And now, I serve in more of a management role there and still get to enjoy as much time on the farm as I can. But my day job is investment management and financial planning and being an advisor for my clients. I don't know that anyone else recently has transitioned out of the game to be a full-time farmer in an effort to transition into being a financial advisor, but it was pretty darn fun.
What’s your advice to players that are just figuring out their new careers or are contemplating retirement?
I would say a couple of things, and this is something that I try to talk to my clients about, especially my athlete clients. We always want to be ready for that transition, financially speaking. We also want to be ready emotionally and psychologically speaking as well, but there is certainly a void that comes with transitioning out of the game. And probably the longer your experience in the game, the larger the void is leaving it. And it's probably true that the more life you are excited about in front of you leaving the game, the more expectations and goal setting and future ventures you have planned, the smaller the void will be when you leave the game.
But nonetheless, no matter the duration of the career, nor the size of the future pursuits that excite someone, there is still a void leaving the game. My advice to anyone that's considering retirement, or anyone that's wanting to prepare for their transition, is to be financially prepared and make sure there's no financial burden. And also, be prepared to miss it, emotionally and psychologically. It is hard to find the camaraderie of an NFL locker room anywhere else. It’s nearly impossible to find what you feel and experience as an NFL player outside in the “real world”. My advice would be to enjoy the heck out of the experience while you're there, and just enjoy how precious it is, and how unique it is. And to have pursuits, goals, and dreams outside of the game as well, for that next space.
Outside of your career now and football, what other hobbies do you have?
Well, shoot, I don't have any hobbies at all, because between the three kids, and work, and our farm, there's no time for hobbies. So, I guess my hobby would be coaching my kids. As a person that considered coaching and loves to do it, and I still get to do that in a financial manner, but I still love coaching athletics, too. I always wondered if coaching kids would kind of give you the juice that you think you want when you when you're thinking about going to be an NFL coach or whatever. But coaching ten-year-olds has all the juice. I mean, what a joy and absolute blast that is. My hobbies are, I guess, youth football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf and dance.