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How to retire like a pro athlete
Professional sports require a level of talent and stamina only a lucky few possess. Their careers lead them to the spotlight and big paychecks. But while you may think that makes them “retirement-proof”, in reality they face unique challenges that require them to plan for retirement a bit differently.
For example, the average pro football player retires in their 20s1, that's more than 20 years earlier than most of us. On the other extreme, some pro golfers play for 30 years, longer than most of us hold a single job. Here are some strategies from across the spectrum of sport that can help you score your own plan for amazing:
1. Drive your savings to the goal line, like a football player.
With the shortest career-span of any sport, football stars need to build a nest egg fast. Living below their means is one way to getting there. Spending significantly less than you earn allows you to put the majority of your earnings in investments or savings. This helps maximize the compound interest your money can earn over the years.
2. Turn your hobby into a side hustle, like a basketball star.
Most basketball careers are almost as short as football careers. Which is why many basketball players pursue side-hustles off the court. You don’t need to have your face on a tee-shirt to turn your pet project into a source of income. Start creating a strategy to build your own brand and brainstorm all the ways you could earn money from your passion project.
3. Invest in self growth, like an Olympic athlete.
Olympic athletes are often still in college when they’re in their prime. That’s why many of them go back to school and start a whole new career after they leave the field. Reinventing yourself can be rewarding and lucrative. Networking or business courses can help you develop new, viable sources of income. Retirement from one job can give you the freedom to kickstart a whole new career that can be as satisfying as it is financially successful.
4. Consider moving to a different state, like a baseball player.
Many baseball players move to different states to play for the team they sign with, so it’s normal for them to move again once they retire. Consider relocating after retirement. Compare the cost of living, tax differences and contemplate the benefits of downsizing to save money.
5. Maximize your contributions, like a golf pro.
Golfers who play professionally have access to a retirement plan similar to a 401(k). And they make good use of it. Over 600 pro golfers have more than $1 million dollars in their retirement plan2. Play it like a golf pro and take advantage of your company’s match program. Employers usually contribute 3% to 6% of an employee’s annual pay. So, maximize your 401(k) by contributing at least as much as your employer is willing to match.
Even pro athletes need some guidance when it comes to managing their money. If you could use a little coaching for retirement, a financial advisor can help you put together a game plan to get you where you want to go.