Money Smart Athlete Blog

Coping with family and societal pressures

Dec 6, 2017 | Financial Psychology

Professional athletes live a unique life because of the status and visibility they enjoy, especially nowadays when they have millions of social media followers. They show unprecedented athletic skills and expertise and compete either in professional leagues like soccer, football, basketball, hockey and baseball or in elite tennis, golf, the Olympics and so on. Many end up making millions of dollars and are drawn to a lifestyle of the rich and famous, living for the moment, and revelling in their fame and fortune. Very few are concerned about the financial implications of living in luxury and the financial issues that may arise from their unique lifestyle.

Many athletes live paycheck to paycheck and blow their money on depreciating assets instead of putting it away. It is understandable how young athletes could let their athletic successes and sudden wealth affect their financial decisions, despite the fact that their earnings window is very small and that their earnings are extremely volatile (e.g. risk of injury or bad off field behavior).

There is a great possibility that an athlete will end up broke. But what are the main aspects of an athletes’ lifestyle that may lead to financial distress and how can an athlete cope with them?

The most common mistake that professional athletes make is the extremely high spending in their newfound wealth, to support their new extravagant lifestyle which society expects them to follow. Athletes should set and follow their own lifestyle that may be similar to the lifestyle they followed before becoming famous. Keeping up with the healthy habits of daily life and their regular routines, spending time alone, eating well, resting and keeping up other responsibilities will keep them grounded and protected from external pressures.

Athletes are expected to provide for their family, friends, coaches, and others who have helped them succeed and most of the time these people will demand financial rewards and returns as recognition of their contribution to the athlete’s fame. It is not easy for athletes to say no as they feel an obligation towards these people. The athletes should have strong professional support who will guide them to handle these types of pressures in a rational, yet diplomatic way.

Society views wealth as a life goal and a solution to all problems. At the same time, there is great disparity in the way money is distributed between the population creating hostility and mistrust towards people who have money and causing people on all income levels to view one another with mistrust. Critics and media voices can launch all sorts of opinions, regarding athletes’ lifestyles and way they spend their money. Athletes should accept that people will have different opinions on their athletic skills and their character; this is the reality of being a pro athlete. Accepting criticism as part of the game and not internalizing it, can help you cope with it.

Athletes should also be careful not to start using money as a substitute for intimate connections and for creating emotions. They need to keep a tight inner circle of people or friends with whom they have created real relationships, which are not based on their athletic and financial success. This inner circle can assist athletes in nurturing their emotions and stay grounded in their life and money management.

Athletes can cope with all the stresses that come with their expected lifestyle with smart money management and recognizing and overcoming some of the athletes’ lifestyle traps. If you need guidance on how to withstand societal pressures or on how to take full control of your finances you can contact us at [email protected] for help.