Money Smart Athlete Blog

Sustaining Financial Success in your post-peak-performance years

By Lazaros Ioannou, APC Sports Consulting Limited

For the third time in five years, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a championship title with a 13–3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. With the Patriots’ February Super Bowl victory, Brady, at 41 years of age, became the oldest quarterback ever to win it. The likes of Tom Brady or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who won the championship with the Lakers 2 times after turning 40 and Roger Federer who last June was ranked No. 1 worldwide at the age of 37, are the exception to the rule that in most sports, athletes reach their peak performance at a young age.

The peak performance age or ‘’sweet spot’’, as many call it, is a period where athletes combine the highest physical strength, technical and mental abilities, and in most sports this sweet spot falls mostly between the mid-20s’ and early 30s’.

The athletes’ finances are correlated with their performance and the performance cycle of athletes affects their finances and income. During the athlete’s peak performance period the athlete usually enjoys the highest earnings of his/her career in terms of sporting compensation as well as in terms of sponsorships and endorsements. Most athletes experience an income decrease along with decreased athletic performance. During their post-peak-performance years, athletes usually receive a lowest compensation for their athletic services. In addition, most athletes tend to have less income from sponsorships and endorsements in their later years since brands prefer to utilize younger athletes who are at the peak of their performance, fame and recognition.

To maintain financial success during their post peak performance years, athletes need to plan ahead; one way of doing that is by building their brand from day one. An athlete’s brand can be built in such a way that the athlete can be transformed into a local or global signature brand, which can be leveraged to sell, endorsed and make a profit.  Athletes can build and capitalize on their brand by creating proper personal marketing strategies, with well-defined branding activities which are in line with their financial life plan. Strategic building of the athlete’s personal brand is crucial because it must be clear which values he or she brings to the marketplace in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd. By building their brand, athletes have the opportunity to create and sustain substantial income which does not solely depend on their athletic performance.

In addition to the above, when athletes are at their peak and have substantial earnings, they should implement a sound saving strategy; a sound saving strategy is the cornerstone of a financially secure lifestyle, accommodating any possible setbacks in their career, irrespective of their athletic performance.  Setting money aside each month builds a foundation for establishing future wealth which can be used in many ways: as an emergency cushion; for retirement as average life expectancy grows and government pensions are pretty volatile; for education purposes, etc. You may refer to our previous article ‘’Saving while earning high’’  for more details on how to set up your personal saving strategy.

Last, the Money Smart Athlete should create sources of alternate/parallel income which are not related to, nor correlated with their athletic performance. This income may be in the form of an investment portfolio, real estate portfolio or by setting up their own business. It is important for athletes to identify what their goals and dreams are, outside of sport, so that they start working on them during the early stages of their career. Before deciding on any of the above, athletes should always seek the help of financial and business advisors who may help them navigate the difficult world of investments and entrepreneurship.   

Whether investing in your personal brand, saving while earning high, setting up investments and businesses or a combination of all the above, you need to make sure that in your post peak performance years, your financial success is not dependent on your athletic performance. By creating a financial freedom plan during your early, high performance years, you will be able to financially sustain yourself during your whole life.  For more information on creating your financial freedom plan you may get in touch with us at [email protected]