Once a year – or so it seems – as part of Super Bowl week, media coverage is given to stories about meager pensions provided to the older retired NFL football players. A major part of the reason is that these guys are not represented by the Player Association. But at least, they have pensions. And you’d think that all major professional sports have retirement programs. All do – except for NASCAR drivers.
Unlike the other professional sports – with one exception – the drivers are independent contractors. Their status isn’t unique to NASCAR. It’s the same in most every form of motor sports. Crew members who work for teams are employees who are provided benefits including 401(k) plans. That other exception as independent contractors is professional golfers.
But PGA members do have a retirement plan in the form of a deferred compensation plan in which part of their prize winnings are used to fund their retirement benefits. Nick Price has been quoted in Business Week as saying that golfers now in their mid-20s who have a career like his could have $30-$40 million in their pensions. Click here for the Business Week story on how the PGA plan works but you’ll have to navigate through the ads.
The difference between the two? Racing has been described as a sport that celebrates rugged individualism and personal responsibility. Drivers are on their own.