Devale and Khadeen Ellis, of the popular YouTube channel the Ellises, recently spoke with Personal Finance Insider about the financial lessons they learned while switching careers. Devale was an NFL player for the Detroit Lions for four years, but after a career-ending injury, he and his wife Khadeen pivoted to acting. At the same time, they established a financial plan tailored to their new jobs and long-term goals.


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  • Former NFL player Devale Ellis turned a career-ending injury into an opportunity to develop a brand.
  • He and his wife Khadeen had to unlearn traditional views on money to develop a plan that fit their lives.
  • As their brand grows, they use a financial advisor and accountant to manage their wealth.

A career-ending injury turned into a financial education

When Devale's NFL salary ended, they had to challenge their traditional views on money as they transitioned to new careers. They needed to understand the basics of finances and life insurance to develop a plan that would help them create wealth while allowing them enough time to be with their family, too.

Devale is now a season regular on Tyler Perry's "Sistas" and has guest starred on other television shows. After having "three whole boys," Khadeen is also back in front of the camera. They also have a Webby award-winning podcast, "Dead Ass," discussing black love, marriage, and family issues, and are regular hosts for the popular "Black Love" docuseries.

Devale and Khadeen grew up with different perspectives on money. Khadeen's parents immigrated to the US from the Caribbean and were humble hard workers who emphasized the importance of property ownership. Devale's parents were traditional, putting an emphasis on working hard, studying hard, and getting a job with a good pension.

Although this advice worked for baby boomers who stayed at the same job for 20 years until retirement, this doesn't work for today's generation. Devale's injury sideline his career and money making potential. He had to reinvent himself and find a new career. This is when he and Khadeen sat down to discuss what they wanted from their marriage, life, and how to accomplish it.

Devale and Khadeen's journey included educating themselves about life insurance, building wealth, and the power of ownership. Once they educated themselves and started generating wealth, they built a team of financial advisors and accountants to help them manage their wealth.

Your financial plan will likely change over time

In today's world, almost no one stays at the same job for 20 years and gets a pension. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor, most people will have around 12 job and career changes in their lifetime. So even if your career transition isn't dramatic as a pivot from the NFL to content creation, at some point you'll likely change jobs and need to re-analyze your financial plans.

As James Seth Thompson, senior vice president and head of diverse markets strategy at Bernstein, previously told Insider, you shouldn't simply set a financial plan and stick with it for the rest of your life.

As your income and net worth increase over time, you'll have more assets to manage and more things to consider, such as tax implications.  Your plan should adapt and adjust to your life changes considering children, marriage, divorce, retirement, and caring for aging parents. Devale and Khadeen rely on their financial advisor to help manage their wealth as their brand grows.

Ronda Lee is an associate editor for insurance at Personal Finance Insider covering life, auto, homeowners, and renters insurance for consumers. She is also a licensed attorney who practiced litigation and insurance defense.


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