Start Saving for Retirement: Emily Samuelson’s Financial Tips for Athletes

Throughout her skating career, Olympic ice dancer Emily Samuelson knew she had to be careful with her money so that she could support herself and prepare for life after sport.

That fiscal responsibility has since served her well in her new career as a financial advisor, and now she is keen to share what she has learned with her fellow athletes.

“Being an athlete is incredibly rewarding; you set goals, you work hard to achieve them, and you get to enjoy the benefits of your efforts,” she explains. “While it’s easy to get caught up in the sport alone, I advise athletes to put the same amount of care into looking after their financial wellbeing as they do their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Here are some of Emily’s tips for taking care of your financial security while also competing…

Start Early

“I cannot stress enough the importance of starting to save early. Time is on your side when it comes to saving money for your future. As soon as you have income coming in, you should put a portion of it away to start saving and, eventually, meet with your financial advisor to discuss investing.”

Build Your Team

“Before you even sign that first contract, win that first prize cheque or land that first endorsement, you should have a team of professionals in place to help you. Just as you hire the best coaches, the best trainers and the best doctors, you should do your due diligence with your financial team. Having a knowledgeable and qualified team of professionals working together to help build out a budget, manage your taxes and advise you on your investments can be invaluable, especially when athletes are often so busy competing and travelling.”

Set Goals

“Just as we set goals and work towards them in our sport, we must also do so with our finances. A financial advisor will be able to sit down with you, identify your goals and priorities, and devise a customised approach to help you pursue those goals. A career as an athlete is often volatile and filled with ups and downs in income and a lack of job security due to potential injuries or team cuts. If you have a financial plan, then you at least may have comfort knowing that, should something happen, you are prepared. It’s not about making as much money as you possibly can; it’s about giving yourself the freedom to continue pursuing your passions.”

Watch Your Spending

“Getting your first signing bonus or endorsement is extremely exciting, but be mindful of spending too much right out of the gate. While a trusted advisor can help guide you here, have a sense of personal responsibility to check yourself as well. With careful planning, you could be well-positioned to pursue your goals.”

Don’t Procrastinate

“Taking care of your finances is too important to just ignore or kick down the road. Keeping your body in shape and your mind strong are just part of being an athlete, and you work at them every day. Being financially in shape is just as essential, and can make a world of difference to your future.”