Because of this, he estimates that by the end of the year his real estate portfolio will include 50 affordable houses in the multi-family market valued at around $ 30 million, primarily in Amsterdam and Miami.
Babel has also dabbled in becoming a stock market trader, giving financial advice to fellow footballers, not to mention running his Los Angeles-based music label Underrated Music Group.
Babel was initially a reluctant investor. He bought his first property at the age of 20 after moving to Liverpool from Ajax in July 2007. After a subsequent transfer to Germany, his agent and father encouraged him to invest in real estate and initially bought a house to rent every quarter.
But with 10 properties to his name, Babel says, he felt unfulfilled like going through the financial applications, so at the age of 27 he looked at day trading and enrolled for a year-long course. However, after qualifying, the time it took to invest in professional football proved unrealistic.
So he changed direction. Previously, he was a sole trader of cash, bringing in partners and leverage from banks, inspired by the books of American businessman Robert Kiyosaki.
“I was wondering what job can replace a football salary every month,” said Babel. “It has to be a successful business. I received a book from a friend of Robert Kiyosaki’s, and when I read that book, my perspective changed immediately.
“I read a few more and understood different ways to invest in real estate, do my due diligence, do homework … what are the ups and downs?
“There I understood that when you invest in apartment buildings, it’s pretty safe and you build the right team … I’ve been pretty successful at it ever since.”
READ: Liverpool’s excruciating wait for English football’s biggest prize
“Life can be very hard and fast.”
He estimates that his portfolio will grow to 100 properties. Other investments Babel has made include American musician Ryan Leslie’s superphone, a custom text management system that enables direct interaction with fans.
He’s also excited about the idea of sharing with teammates what he’s learned to future proof his financial security.
He said he shared financial advice with colleagues from the Dutch national team, current team Galatasaray and his original club Ajax, where he was on loan last season when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
“I felt an obligation to share this information with colleagues, especially about how soccer players deal with finances,” said Babel.
“They sometimes get the idea that this lifestyle is forever, so they inject money, they don’t invest, they are not careful and I feel a bit responsible for the younger generation. Of course enjoy life, but put something aside so that you can create some kind of security later.
“My career will of course be over one day. Perhaps one of my goals now is to educate the younger generation of footballers who get into big contacts very quickly.
“Get in early to get your feet wet outside of the comfort zone of football. It will be a tough world when you hang up your boots if you are not educated in this society or economy. Life can be very hard and tough. “Fast.”
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At 33, Babel is enough of a realist to know that his career lies in the twilight years. Unlike so many of his colleagues, he tries to tell his story not through a ghostly autobiography, but through a music album.
“You know how footballers always write an autobiography after their careers. I got the idea to do this, but in musical form, ”said Babel.
“Basically, it’s going to be a music rap album where I’ll speak my truth, my past trip, my football career, and the things that have happened over the years. I’m busy with that now. ”
It’s all a far cry from the 20-year-old who lived alone in Liverpool for the first time in his life, a club he has a strong affection for.
Under the leadership of Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool won the English championship title for the first time in 30 years last season.
Babel believes he would thrive under the German’s more huggable approach than his longtime manager on Merseyside – Rafael Benitez.
“I definitely think I might have done a lot better,” he said. “Some players need a manager who is like this father figure or this uncle. Unfortunately my time was different. I was alone and had to find out everything myself.
“I was still quite young, at the time I was 20 years old and had never lived alone. It was my first experience abroad, all these things, all these factors shape a player.
“But yeah, I definitely think the kind of manager Jürgen Klopp, as I see from the outside, was definitely a manager that I could employ at the age of 20.”
READ: How Jürgen Klopp made Liverpool the title winner
The Koeman effect in Barcelona
This season, Babel’s goal is to win the Turkish league with Galatasaray and to maintain his place in the Dutch national team after coach Ronald Koeman left for Barcelona.
READ: Koeman named new Barcelona boss
And Babel is confident that his former boss at Camp Nou can be a success despite the ongoing saga of Lionel Messi’s contract.
“He’s a very good coach,” he said. “Sometimes, however, timing is very important in football. There is a lot going on in Barcelona at the moment. I just hope it doesn’t affect his focus on shaping his squad.
“He’s a very good coach and can bring success back to Barcelona. For me, one of those strengths is giving the players responsibility and creating a group process … a certain atmosphere in which he really builds a team here. ”For us, Koeman created an atmosphere in which everyone wanted to be a part. ”
For his own future, Babel sees one potential final hurray in the English Premier League after the remaining two years of his contract in Galatasaray.
And then he will switch full-time to his other business areas, especially to his real estate portfolio.
It’s been a steep learning curve in and out of the sport, and he’s honest enough to admit he regrets it.
“I had a time when I quickly believed in good ideas and then only I as a person had to invest financially in them. It goes wrong … and it happened to me a little too often, reflects Babel.
Older and wiser, it blooms both on and off the field.
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