Post-Season: 4 Star Athletes on Their Second Acts in Business

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Each of the sporting greats on these pages drew on a new playbook to chart their life beyond the field, but they all prove the key to retiring well is not to retire at all.

Mo Vaughn, 46
The three-time All-Star in 12 major league seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Anaheim Angels and New York Mets was the 1995 American League MVP.

Once one of baseball’s highest-paid players, Vaughn is now working the other end of the wealth spectrum: low-income housing. His real estate firm, Omni New York, which he cofounded in 2004, uses government incentives to buy up properties and refurbish them before installing its own management. The business has grown from 3 employees to about 400 today, with a portfolio of almost 8,000 units.

Vaughn says affordable housing proved its worth in 2007 and 2008: “We were very fortunate to be in this business,” he says. “We added a thousand units a year when things were falling apart.”

Money Moves in Your 40s
Although you might be still paying off college debt–and saving for your kids’ education–don’t neglect your 401(k). Never contribute less than the company match, and aim for three times your annual salary in savings before your 50th birthday.

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(Credit: Tim Pannell for Forbes)

Chris Evert, 59
With 18 grand-slam titles among her 157 tournament victories, Evert was unanimously elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.

“I love the freedom of being able to go to the Caribbean if I want,” Evert says. “But I also want to have a reason to get out in the morning.” She has plenty: In addition to founding her own tennis academy in 1996, Evert spends eight weeks a year covering the grand slams for ESPN, writes a column for Tennis magazine and is currently designing a line of tennis outfits for the apparel company Tail.

Evert is also taking a more active role with her investments. Her father, who had managed her money (with her input) since her playing days, directed her into bonds that provided insulation during the 2008 crash. But as the stock market roared back from its bottom, Evert shifted a portion of her assets into equities. “I’m conservative,” she says, “but I also want to be diversified.”

Money Moves in Your 50s
Use calculators or a financial pro to gauge if you’re on track. Start building a side business or acquiring skills for a second career that can see you through your 60s.

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Franco Harris, 63
The four-time Super Bowl champ with the Pittsburgh Steelers was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection before being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

“When I played, everyone knew football wouldn’t take care of you forever,” says Harris. “We didn’t make that much money, so it kept things in perspective.”

After retiring from the NFL in 1984, Harris applied a running back’s hustle to building his signature business, Super Bakery, which is known for a nutritional paradox: a healthier doughnut. The Super Donut, which doesn’t contain any preservatives, artificial coloring or flavoring, is now available in all 50 states, generating millions in annual revenue. Harris, meanwhile, is already knee-deep in another project: a line of antimicrobial fitness and workout gear sold by a company called Silversport.

“I go to the beach now,” he says, “and when I’m relaxing there it’s a great time to read and think and strategize about my business.”

Money Moves in Your 60s
Enjoy what you’re doing? Still healthy? Don’t stop! The longer you stay employed, the longer before you start drawing down on retirement assets.

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Jack Nicklaus, 74
The Golden Bear won a record 18 major championships, including 6 Masters, on top of a PGA Tour career that spanned 44 years, from 1961 to 2005.

“I’ve never retired,” Nicklaus says. “I stopped playing competitive golf, but that was just one part of my business life.”

Indeed. His golf-course design firm, Nicklaus Design, has built or renovated more than 380 courses around the world since 1969, including annual PGA Tour stop Muirfield Village in Ohio and Scotland’s Centenary Course at Gleneagles, host of the 2014 Ryder Cup. (In 2007 Nicklaus sold 49% of the company for $145 million.) He has been selling golf shirts since he turned pro in 1961, and just last year Nicklaus Companies launched a new line of golf balls color-coded to correspond to the black, blue and white tees. Charity-minded duffers can choose to donate a portion of their ball’s purchase price to Nicklaus’ foundation for children’s health care.

Don’t get him wrong, though. It’s very much a business. “The charitable part is nice,” says Nicklaus, “but you either make a profit or you’re not in business.”

Money Moves in Your 70s
Be efficient with your account withdrawals: Pretax IRAs and 401(k)s require minimum withdrawals beginning at age 70. Have a plan for spending. Don’t overshoot and get caught with empty pockets.

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