NFL’s Brandon Copeland Is Teaching Life 101, A Money Class At Penn

Written by Ann Brown
New York Jets linebackers Brandon Copeland, left, and Jordan Jenkins arrive at New Era Field for an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Normally you hear about  NFL players blowing through their multi-million salaries and winding up in financial straits at the end of their careers. Well, don’t count  New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland, 27, in that field. Copeland stashes away nearly 90% of his income. And even teaches a money class at Ivy League College Penn State called “Life 101.”

Copeland lives on 10 to 15 percent of his NFL salary and saves the rest. “It’s guaranteed football is going to be over one day,” the NFL star told ESPN in 2017. Copeland graduated from Penn State University’s Wharton Business School, so he knows a thing or two about finances. He spent “two summers interning at the investment bank UBS in college, took an off-season job on Wall Street in 2017. He also has experience flipping houses and opened a real estate company with his wife last year,” CNBC reported.

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Now he’s teaching a financial literacy seminar at his alma mater with Dr. Brian Peterson, who is the director of Penn’s Makuu Black Cultural Center.  

“The class, which Copeland nicknamed “Life 101” and started this spring semester, covers ‘the realities of life we all have to deal with,’ he says, like how to invest, plan for retirement and build credit. He came up with the idea of the course two years ago, when he and a former teammate were talking about money mistakes and what they wish they’d known in their early 20s,” CNBC reported.

“I don’t care if you’re an engineering student, a nursing student, if you’re going to build rockets when you grow up or if you’re going to sweep floors,” he recently told ESPN. “You’re going to have to use something in this class.”

Copeland signed a one year, $1.2 million contract with the Jets in 2018. And he’s making his money make more money — he’s invested nearly 60 percent of Copeland’s post-tax salary in “safe, long-term” investments; another 30 percent goes towards savings.

About Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence,, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.