Former Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger, recently named a vice president and senior wealth and fiduciary adviser with Bell Bank Wealth Management, sees at least one similarity between football players and entrepreneurs.

The sudden wealth some players enjoy, Bollinger said, is like the windfall an entrepreneur may receive in exiting a company.

"Oftentimes [entrepreneurs] have learned some lessons along the way, and usually they were cheap lessons," Bollinger said. "The problem with the athlete is they're very expensive lessons and they'll most likely never earn that money back."

Bollinger, who also played for the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions during his six-year NFL career, said uncertainty about handling money among players prompted him to become a licensed financial adviser in 2014.

It's a role that aligns with the teaching, mentoring and leadership skills he developed as a player and as a coach at the University of Pittsburgh and Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul.

At Bell Bank, Bollinger's responsibilities include working with individuals, wealthy families and business owners on financial planning, investments, banking and trust services.

"Everybody needs somebody to help them block and tackle," said Bollinger, a Grand Forks, N.D., native and former quarterback for the University of Wisconsin.

Bollinger works at Bell Bank's Golden Valley location. He previously was with NorthRock Partners in Minneapolis for three years.

Bell Bank, headquartered in Fargo, is one of the country's largest independently owned banks with more than $6 billion in assets. It has locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Arizona.

Q: Why did you choose to become a licensed financial adviser?

A: There was a ton of anxiety in the locker room among all of us questioning if we were doing the right thing [financially]. There was a void there of support and advice that we were receiving. I wanted to see behind the curtain and get my licenses. Through that I've had some success with athletes but also enjoyed working with entrepreneurs and business owners. I want to help people make the right decisions, the best decisions to be their best selves and live their best lives.

Q: How do you approach your role as an adviser?

A: Money is a vehicle and a tool to allow you the time and freedom to do what you want to do. Our job is to understand what's important to people and what they want their life to look like now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now for their kids, for their kids' kids, [for] whatever that might be. There are hundreds of ways to get there but most of them involve spending less than you make.

Q: What's been a challenge in your move to this industry?

A: I thought I'd be able to jump from pretty high on the [football] side over to pretty high in this career. But the moment it became fun is when I realized that football was so rewarding over the years because I had worked so hard to be successful. I realized this was going to be no different, albeit I was 35. You have some success, see it pay off and it's rewarding because you put the work in.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is