Dykstra: Do You Have a Game Plan? - TheStreet

Many people write to me to ask about my options calls and my playing days in the big leagues. In the past, I have addressed a number of different topics in my columns; many of my loyal readers are familiar with "The Game of Life," a regular column featured last season.

Recently I have been focusing mainly on my picks and the market's outlook. I believe its time to address a topic I have been getting a lot of inquiries about: the

Players Club

magazine. While this column is a little different than a number of my recent columns, I thought I would share a little bit of information about the magazine and why I believe it is important.

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First off, the magazine is for players, by players and only available to players, agents, coaches, and the teams' front-office staff. I believe it's the best magazine in the world, and will make a real difference in educating athletes about their own finances. However, as I sat down to write today's column, I realized that many of the same lessons and principles apply to investors who aren't athletes as well. Hopefully this column will address many of the questions, you -- the readers -- have sent in concerning the

Players Club

as well as provide you with some insight into my way of thinking.

So let's get right to it. I can speak to you as very few people can because I know what it's like to be both a player and someone who manages several aspects of my own finances. I know what it's like to win the World Series as a member of the 1986 New York Mets. I know what it's like to retire and have an investment banker tell me that he'd lost most of my savings in the stock market, something that unfortunately happens to a lot of people who trust others to manage their retirement.

I also know what it's like to know little about finances and having to learn from scratch. And I know what it's like to earn much more in the world of business than I ever did as a player. Retirement can be scary -- whether it's a pro athlete retiring in his 30s, or most other folks retiring in their 60s. I get sad when I hear about athletes who are forced to pawn their world championship rings because they were ill-prepared for life after they retire. Some winning players end up living under bridges. There are retired players, who were injured during their playing days, who can't even afford their medicine.

The Players Club is here to make sure this doesn't happen to any athlete who's playing right now. The goal is to


reoccurring cash flow to every athlete after his or her playing days are done.

When the money stops, the bills start. You're on your own. However, unlike my newsletter

Nails on the Numbers

, the Players Club is not offering stock market tips. We're offering guaranteed reoccurring cash flow. I don't like to use the word annuity. It's a fancy word that doesn't tell you much. I prefer to use the words guaranteed cash flow because that's exactly what an annuity delivers.

An annuity is a great foundation to any strategy because no dive in the stock market is going to stop your payments from it. Your money is backed by the government. There's also a hidden benefit to an annuity. You're forcing yourself to save. By taking this money out of your earnings now, you're asking yourself to look at your finances and live with less. This will get you thinking about how to invest properly to make up for what you're putting away for the future.

The bottom line is this: The more you begin to understand about finances now, the more money you're going to have later on when your family really needs it.

I don't wear my championship ring. I'm not a jewelry kind of guy. I keep my ring in a safety deposit box. On those rare occasions that I take it out, though, all the memories come back.

I can see the day I got it as if it were yesterday. Opening day 1987. One by one, my teammates and I were called out onto the field where the rings were set in our hands while a stadium full of fans went wild.

It was a great moment for many reasons. It was a reminder of all that we'd accomplished. But also, it was great to have that ring placed in my hand on opening day. I've always loved opening day. Opening day is a symbol of a fresh start and new hope.

I had no idea on that day what would happen to me after I retired. I didn't know the weird feeling that would come the moment the paychecks stopped. I couldn't understand how all the support staff and services the club provided would suddenly vanish from my life in order to take care of the player who replaced me.

I had no idea that my high school buddy -- who I'd trusted with my money -- would try to steal my car wash business. Or that the investment broker he'd recommended would lose most of my nest egg in the stock market. I couldn't see the future back then, but now I can.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a quick take on some great companies to keep an eye on - my starting nine. These stocks have been beaten up and are trading at basement level prices. In short, they're a steal at these prices. Keep an eye on

United Technologies



(BA) - Get Report


Delphi Financial







(VLO) - Get Report



(ADSK) - Get Report



(TRX) - Get Report


Parker Hannifin

(PH) - Get Report


Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

Remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!

At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for TheStreet.com, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."