Derek Sanderson confidently rattles off phrases commonly heard on
CNBC, like liquidity and arbitrage and tax sensitivity, because
he knows the Street; he also is on a first-name basis with the
streets. For a three-week period in the fall of 1977, money gone,
addicted to drugs, celebrated hockey career in tatters, Sanderson
was homeless. His scouting report: "Under bridges are the best
places to sleep because of shelter from the wind, but you've got
to get there early."
Now, in a do-what-I-say-not-what-I-did career, Sanderson
preaches wealth-preserving values as a pin-striped vice president
and senior investment professional at Boston Private Bank & Trust
Co. The irony is not lost on him. In 1972 Sanderson became the
highest-salaried athlete in the world when he signed a $2.65
million deal with the Philadelphia Blazers of the World Hockey
Association. He estimates he eventually squandered nearly $4.5
million of his career earnings. Before he obtained his financial
adviser's license in 1991, Sanderson worked as a golf pro shop
assistant, a drug and alcohol adviser to the Boston schools, and
a color commentator for Bruins telecasts. Today about 20 current
and former athletes, most with ties to New England, where
Sanderson spent nine of his 13 pro seasons with the Bruins,
entrust their money to the most spectacularly undisciplined
player of his era.
"Someone said that if I had taken the $4.5 million I lost and
reinvested it in bonds, I'd be worth a ridiculous sum today,"
says Sanderson, 58. "But it wasn't in the cards, was it? If I'd
done that, I wouldn't be the same person. I've had a great life,
and I'm not afraid to die. Dying ... been there, done that."