As a professional athlete, you may have seen your career take over your life in an incredibly intense way.

You might find others with “normal” career paths cannot relate closely to your experience of work; you have lived the dream, and with that dream comes immense highs and some potentially extreme lows, too.

When it comes to your mental health, you may already be aware of your career’s potential to affect your mood, stability, and happiness.

Indeed, research published by Athletes For Hope shows up to 35% of elite athletes struggle with mental health issues.

Even if you have never experienced mental illness yourself, the intensity of life as an athlete means you may experience some hurdles down the line. Especially if you are approaching the end of your sporting career, or you have already retired, your mental health could be challenged as you experience this seismic shift in your day-to-day life.

One aspect of your life that could affect your mental health as an athlete is your money. Although we may like to think of money as a hard-and-fast fact of life that does not involve emotion, in fact, our relationship to money can have a significant impact on our happiness.

So, here is how your mental health can affect your relationship with money, and how working with a professional can help you focus on the important things in life.

Research shows those with mental health problems are more likely to experience financial stress

Mental health and money exist in a push-and-pull dynamic: financial stress can contribute to poor mental health, and poor mental health can also affect your financial wellbeing.

Indeed, a 2022 study by the Money & Pensions Service reveals that 57% of those who have experienced mental health problems in the last three years feel anxious when they think about money.

Regardless of how comfortable you are financially, your wealth could become a source of stress in your life, especially if you are already shouldering other mental health concerns.

For example, if you experienced an injury at work, you could be feeling frustrated at your inability to play the sport you love, and may even experience symptoms of depression. In addition, the injury may cause you to lose out on career opportunities, impeding your ability to earn for a short while.

In this instance, working with your financial planner can bring you immense peace of mind. A trusted professional can help you figure out a way forward if bumps in the road affect either your mental health, your finances, or both.

Retirement from an intense sporting career can bring both financial and mental challenges

There is no shame in admitting that coming to terms with retirement can be especially difficult for athletes who are used to the high physical and mental calibre of sporting life.

If you are a recently retired athlete who is adjusting to life after the peak of your career, you could already be experiencing challenges to your mental wellbeing.

In addition, you might be thinking about how to make your retirement income last, especially during the UK’s cost of living crisis.

Indeed, UK insurer Aviva claims that depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health problems experienced by retirees. Obviously, while you will likely retire earlier from professional sport than individuals with “normal” careers, losing that daily motivation could still see you experience similar feelings down the line.

In today’s world, your wealth could contribute to these feelings; research published by FTAdviser claims more than half of Brits are “failing to plan for the future” as money becomes tighter. Plus, as athletes often retire earlier than regular workers, you may have to make your wealth last longer.

Luckily, you do not have to go through this life shift alone. Your financial planner can help formulate a wealth strategy that allows you to live the life you want, no matter the economic climate.

By reaching out for financial guidance when you retire, you could find your mental health is soothed, knowing you have a trusted ally to share the load of your financial responsibility.

Working with a trusted professional can help you focus on your health, rather than on your money

Fortunately, working with your financial planner can help ease some of your worries, and enable you to focus on your health.

If you are concerned about making your wealth last a lifetime once you retire from your athletic career, we can use cashflow modelling to help determine how much you will need to live the life you want.

Or, if the prospect of an injury and its impact on your financial stability keeps you up at night, we can curate a bespoke package of protection options to keep you covered if the worst happened.

Ultimately, your financial planner will listen carefully to both your goals and concerns, helping you maintain your wealth in line with your desired lifestyle, priorities, and attitude to risk.

Get in touch

Being an athlete comes with amazing highs, but there can be lows, too. We specialise in working with professional athletes, and know how important it is for you to take care of your mental health both during and after your career.

For a holistic conversation about your personal and financial goals, email or call 01625 529 499.

Please note

The value of your investment 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. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

Workplace pensions are regulated by The Pension Regulator.

Note that life insurance plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.