It takes a big man to work for free, and that’s what Troy Murphy is and is doing. Murphy, founder of Sweven Wealth, is a former National Basketball Association power forward/center who stands at 6 feet, 11 inches. He recently launched a new advisory firm to help those who come into sudden wealth — like many of the young athletes he met during his 12-year career with the NBA.
But here’s the twist: Murphy is plowing any profits from his firm back into selected nonprofit financial literacy organizations in an effort to educate people early on in the mysteries of finances. He does not take a salary.
Murphy made more than $60 million during his basketball career, manages his own portfolio, and says he’s “all set” when it comes to his own finances. Therefore, he has a different view than many financial advisors, stating, “I’m not interested in making money. I’m interested in making a difference.”
His thinking is colored by his own journey, he admits. He left Notre Dame after his junior year to pursue a career in the NBA. He says in preparing for the draft, he worked with about six other young athletes, some who right away bought expensive cars.
“I found that interesting because the draft hadn’t even happened yet and no one really knew where they were going,” says Murphy, who was selected 14th overall in the 2001 draft by the Golden State Warriors. “Then after the draft I would see guys come in and make impulsive purchases and risk money. They wouldn’t put together any kind of plan … and it was a continuous theme every year.”
Sweven, which means “dream” or “vision” in Old English, was Murphy’s own goal, having seen so many young athletes waste their riches. Early on in his career he was involved with his own finances, often questioning his financial advisor on investments. Toward the end of his basketball career he handled his own portfolio. And playing in the NBA helped that discipline, he says.
“Through my own journey I’ve had to manage the financial expectations of many people close to me. I’ve received good advice, bad advice and witnessed a number of cautionary tales,” he says. “The ‘off the court’ aspect of playing basketball has prepared me to be successful in this area.”
After Murphy left basketball, he worked for a year with the NBA, and then went back to college at Columbia University to get his degree in sociology. But he always wanted to manage money, so afterward studied to become an RIA. And after seeing so much impulsive spending in the NBA, he decided to focus on an area with which he was very familiar: sudden wealth. That definitely means his target clients are athletes, but also those who inherit money, go through a divorce and have to learn how to handle their finances, and even those who win lawsuit settlements. He charges $275 an hour, which is billed in six-minute increments.