On 26 July 2024, the opening ceremony for the Olympic games will be held in Paris, 100 years since the city last hosted the competition. For the first time ever, the opening ceremony will take place outside a stadium, in the heart of the city along the river Seine.

The celebration marks the beginning of the two-week contest, drawing world-class athletes from around the globe to compete in 32 different sports.

As the Olympics approaches, the athletes are likely making their final preparations to ensure they are in peak condition for the games. As an athlete yourself, you will understand the hard work that goes into preparing for an important competition. We can learn a lot from these Olympians, and all athletes, about perseverance, dedication, and stepping up in the face of adversity.

But did you know that they could also teach you about managing your wealth?

Read on to learn four fascinating financial lessons from Olympians ahead of Paris 2024.

1. Clear goals can keep you motivated

As you know, focus and motivation are key to finding success as an athlete. You need to train consistently, even on days when you might not feel up to it, if you want to progress. Having clear goals can help you find that motivation.

Winning the Six Nations or the World Cup are among the highest accolades for professional rugby players. Yet, in many sports, the Olympics is the most important competition. The thought of bringing home that elusive gold medal for their country keeps athletes motivated when they find it difficult to keep pushing forward.

You might benefit from setting clear goals when it comes to your finances too. Sometimes, saving and investing for the future can be difficult, especially if you do not see any benefits right away, and you might lose your motivation.

Yet, if you set clear goals about what you want to achieve and the kind of lifestyle you want to build for your family now and in the future, you may find it easier to stick to your financial plan.

The financial goals you create are like a gold medal to an Olympian, or the Six Nations Championship Trophy. Picturing yourself achieving those goals may give you the motivation you need to succeed.

2. Starting early could improve your chances of success

Marjorie Gestring became the youngest ever Olympic gold medallist after winning the three-metre springboard diving competition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when she was just 13 years old.

It is not uncommon for young children to compete and win in the Olympics. For example, Sky Brown became the youngest-ever British Olympic medallist when she won a bronze in skateboarding during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics at age 13. Kokona Hiraki, the silver medallist in the same event competing for Japan, was just 12 years old.

To perform at a world-class level and place in the Olympics when they were still children, these competitors needed to start training from an incredibly young age. This is something you might be familiar with yourself as many rugby players join academies in the under-13s team.

Often, professional players were learning the basics and developing their skills as soon as they were old enough to hold a ball.

Starting as early as possible gives athletes a greater chance of success in later life because they learn basic habits from a young age, and they have more time to train and develop their skills.

The same may be true of financial planning. For example, if you start saving for retirement from a young age, you create a strong saving habit that you may be more likely to maintain throughout your life. You may also be able to contribute more to your pensions. This could mean that you can afford a better quality of life in retirement.

Additionally, if you start investing earlier in life, you give your wealth more time to potentially grow. This could mean that you have more funds to draw on when you are older. This may be especially beneficial once your playing career ends, and you may need to find other ways to fund your lifestyle.

3. Do not let challenges push you off course

The USA female gymnastics team were firm favourites to win in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. They dominated the competition and Kerri Strug stepped up to the mat to secure the gold medal. Yet, on her first attempt at the vault, she misjudged the manoeuvre and landed badly, seriously injuring her ankle.

She could have pulled out of the competition at this stage, but she did not. As some of her teammates had scored poorly in the previous round, she knew that it fell to her to secure the gold. So, with an injured ankle, she stepped up again and executed the vault, landing on her one good leg.

As a result of her perseverance and ability to adapt in the face of a challenge, Kerri Strug and the rest of the team took home the gold medal.

You might have experienced something similar in your own playing career. When you are injured or face tough competition, you do not simply give up. Instead, you do whatever it takes to overcome these challenges.

It is important to take the same approach to financial planning. You might face certain challenges, such as market volatility that affects the value of your investments, or unexpected costs that deplete your savings. You may also find the transition from your professional playing career to your second career difficult.

When you face these challenges, do not let them push you off course. Instead, just as Kerri Strug did in the 1996 Olympics, adapt and find ways to surmount those challenges so you can continue working towards your goals.

4. You may want to plan beyond your sporting career

The average age that Olympic athletes retire varies depending on the sport. However, just like professional rugby players, many Olympians may retire from competition around age 30. Yet, many ex-athletes have long careers beyond the Olympics.

For example, two-time Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes retired from athletics in 2005. Since then, she has remained in the public eye, appearing on several TV programmes as a presenter and guest. She has also run athletics camps and served as the president of Commonwealth Games England.

If you are still playing professionally, you might want to consider what you will do when you retire. You may decide to pursue a career related to your sport like many Olympians do. Alternatively, you might start a business or find a different career altogether.

You may also need to consider how you will manage your finances when you retire from playing because your income could change significantly.

Whatever you decide to do, you might want to start planning while you are still playing, so you can make the transition to your second career as smooth as possible and reduce disruption to your financial plan.

We can help you achieve this.

Get in touch

If you need support planning your future after you retire from playing, then please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.

Email enquiries@dbl-am.com or call 01625 529 499 to speak to us today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates, and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.