Don’t Hit a Home Run on the Field, But Strike Out at the Bank

Professional athletes strive toward a very unique situation. They train their entire lives in the hopes of getting to the top of their sport, and if they’re lucky enough to be part of the 1% that goes the distance, they’ll face a career ranging anywhere from one to six years. For perspective, the average professional gymnast retires by the time they’re 22. The average professional soccer player is 35 when he or she retires. Depending on the circumstance, athletes may only get one or two years of paid play before an injury cuts their career short. But it’s not just length that makes their situation unique. It’s also the fact that athletes are paid a tremendous amount.

All Work and Big Pay

Imagine an 18-year-old who is graduating from high school and offered a competitive football scholarship at a top college in the US. For the next four years, he attends classes, studies, writes papers, and in every other waking moment, goes to practice or takes on the next game. At the end of his senior year, he’s offered a place on a professional team along with a hefty paycheck. So of course, he signs. His first big check comes in the mail, but he’s 23 and has no idea what to do with it. Of course, it couldn’t hurt to spend a little first…

Down But Not Out

This is why financial planning for professional athletes is so important. Many athletes get into hard financial situations or accumulate a lot of debt because they didn’t manage their money well. And it’s understandable–a lot of money is suddenly coming in, but then it’s cut off far sooner than the average CEO who will retire at 65. But thankfully, there are financial planning resources available for these athletes, to teach them how to invest as well as how to save for their next big dream.

Professional athletes can find themselves in a bind after retirement, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Financial planning is a critical step that every athlete should consider.