Inside Track: From the NFL to finance, Lyon traces its own path

Mitch Lyons has written a book on investing and will release a documentary he produced on the same topic next month. Courtesy of Mitch Lyons Wealth

From the grill to the complex world of financial investments, Mitch Lyons is preparing for a new career.

He is the owner and chairman of Mitch Lyons Wealth, a virtual money management company he founded in 2020 after working in the financial industry for more than two decades. He focuses his activities on helping clients approaching retirement or retirement to build their financial portfolios without the help of the stock market.

Although he is successful in the financial world by helping others, his entry into the financial industry was just an afterthought while playing football for Michigan State University. The Grand Rapids native focused primarily on football, playing the tight end-of-race position where he excelled in the late ’80s and early’ 90s. He earned a general business administration degree in the process. as a Spartan, but he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his degree.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “I started out taking general courses and at the end of my second year I applied to business school but still had no idea what I really wanted to do. I just got the chance to go in and get a general business administration degree and even then I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was more focused on sports. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever, but at the time it was my goal. “

Lyon excelled on the football field, attracting the attention of the National Football League. He was drafted in 1993 by the Atlanta Falcons where he played tight end and played on his special teams for about three years.

In 1996, Lyon continued to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a tight end and on their special teams, but after a series of knee injuries he hung up his boots just before 2000.

While playing, however, Lyons dabbled in real estate. He owned six residential properties in the Grand Rapids area. After his retirement from the NFL, Lyons continued to manage these properties, but he began to hate what he was doing.

Mitch Lyons Wealth
Position: Founder and President
Age: 51
Place of birth: Ionia
Residence: Rockford
Family: Wife Angela and children Taylor, Dalton, Bailey, Jourdan, Trent and Grace
Commercial / community involvement: “To have a team in the league that believed in me. It only takes one to get into the league and luckily the Falcons believed in me and drafted me.
Biggest career break: “Over the past two years, recognizing what I wanted to do and saying, ‘This is how I want to build my practice going forward. This is how I want to help people. Everything that happened in the past year for me has been great. I like it in terms of the flexibility it offers, like working from home, zooming in with people, and being able to help without going out of the house and fighting traffic for hours on end. It has been fantastic. The book was awesome from a marketing standpoint and with the release of this documentary I’m very excited for that too.

“I just didn’t want to take calls at midnight to fix the toilet,” he said. “There are many ways to make money in real estate, but the residents and the areas where I had (properties) were not something I wanted to manage for the rest of my life.”

After about four years in real estate, he sold his properties. Lyons was then introduced to the financial world by a former Michigan state football player. He then worked at AXA Advisors and during that time he sold stocks, bonds, mutual funds, security products, life insurance and annuities, which were based on the market.

After eight years at AXA, Lyons decided to become an independent broker, selling different products from different companies including Woodbury Financial, LPL Financial and Global Wealth Solutions. He was also associated with Lyon Kitzrow Wealth management.

After working with various independent companies, Lyons decided to give up his securities license, which allowed him to market and sell investments. He then decided to work only with people close to retirement or retired.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Lyons was in the process of considering how he could rename himself and his business. He decided to start a virtual business, which would allow him to work with people all over the country.

In 2020, he founded Mitch Lyons Wealth, which allows him to focus on people nearing retirement or in the retirement phase.

“We’ve all been told about putting money in our 401 (k) and accumulating, accumulating, accumulating, and that’s great, except when you’re nearing retirement. Now your accumulation phase is coming to an end, now it is about distribution, ”he said. “How can I distribute this? How can I withdraw money? How to do it in a tax-efficient way? How can I make sure that the market does not collapse and that my whole (portfolio) does not drop by 35% in the first year of my retirement, which will have a huge impact on your retirement? if that were to happen? So this couple who are approaching retirement or have just retired, this is the person that I’m going to talk to and show them ways to consolidate what they have.

Even at or near retirement age, people still have options, Lyons said.

“Maybe they still want some of their money in the market. That’s good, they can do it. But for a party, depending on their level of risk, for a party, say, a 60-year-old, they might want 50% stocks and 50% bonds. “We don’t all want (everything) on ​​the stock market, we want it in bonds.” It was great when bonds were earning 6% or 8%. They don’t even pay 2% most of the time now because the interest rates are so low. “

Lyons said this type of information is crucial for investing at a certain age.

“So why would you want to tie up half of your portfolio in an investment that won’t earn you anything?” And you increase inflation with it. Some of the index strategies that I use can provide a much higher return than that. It won’t necessarily do this every year, but over a period of time it will outperform what a bond portfolio is going to do right now. “

Lyons works with insurance companies that provide clients with fixed income annuities or fixed index life insurance products. The money a client invests is tied to the market, but it is not “in” the market and they will be able to earn a fixed rate of return on their investment. Even if the market changes for the worse, his customers will not lose money, he said. Likewise, however, if the market explodes by 25%, Lyons said its customers would not realize that full gain. In this scenario, they could realize another 9% or 10% ROI.

To help broaden its philosophy and way of protecting its clients’ investments, Lyons decided to write a book called “Retirement of Steel.” It was released in January. It’s, in part, an ode to his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The book provides advice on tax matters and educates consumers on how they can protect their money throughout retirement. The book also details personal stories about the financial stress he endured and the ups and downs he faced during his NFL career.

In addition to his book, Lyon is the executive producer of a documentary due out in October entitled “The Baby Boomer Dilemma”.

“It focuses on the issues that the baby boomer generation is facing as they head into retirement,” he said. “The risk they face that their parents didn’t really face. The real risk of low interest rates for people who don’t want their money to be on the stock market, and they don’t have a good place to put it because banks pay 0.3% (interest) and bonds pay in a ridiculous way.

The documentary, Lyons said, will feature experts in the financial industry talking about various aspects of investment risk.

“I’m excited this is making its debut and will be able to use it as a marketing tool, which can be educational for my clients and prospects to really understand and recognize what they’re up against as they make their way to. retirement and why it makes sense. to implement some of the strategies I’m talking about, ”he said.


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