The Millionaire Next Door

Income: NFL’s Goodell vs. Typical US Family

A statement issued from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the headlines in a wide variety of media.  I understand that Mr. Goodell will cut his salary to $1 if there is a work stoppage after the current agreement with owners and NFL players expires in March.  Further, news reports indicate that Mr. Goodell currently receives an income including bonuses of about $10M a year. This salary is the equivalent of the combined incomes of 200 typical income producing American families.  Overall only one in approximately 6,315 households is in the Goodell league in terms of income.  In terms of ranking, the Commissioner is in the ozone layer of our economic system!  He is above 99.984% of U.S. workers. 

There is something else that concerns me about the attention this story is receiving.  The media treats this as a rare instance of a rich guy working for $1 a year. But it’s only for one year.  How many years before and how many years after is the $10M figure the norm for him?  

Some very wealthy people in this country work for less than a $1 a year.  I was recently reminded of this by the dean of a private school who said, “There are several of our faculty [full time] who take no income.  They attended school here; they made their fortunes, and returned to teach.” A former univeristy colleague of mine who was indeed wealthy also worked throughout his tenure for $1 a year.  Now I find that these wealthy “volunteers”  are more common that I once imagined.  Could it be that they do not seek the publicity for their contributions like some in the NFL bureaucracy?

3 thoughts on “Income: NFL’s Goodell vs. Typical US Family”

  1. Ya, as soon as I saw that headline, I knew that it meant nothing… He’ll make probably 4 times as much as the normal families from interest. Not to mention all the other sources of income he has.

  2. In Judaism, there is a saying; he who gives to charity is blessed, he who gives anonomymously is twice blessed. In my lifetime I have noticed this attribute among many self made people. For example, last year a new opera house opened in Dallas, costing over $100 million. The paper carried the story of donors who had given $1 million or more to the building. About 25% of the million dollar+ donors were anonymous.

  3. I believe when it comes to giving, the question to evaluate the gift is often how much does one have left over after giving… ie. the widow who gave the two mites, Jesus said she gave all she had! What is interesting is that her act of giving stood out to Jesus…

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