6 Ways to Save for the Unexpected

Oct 3, 2023

Professional tennis players’ income can vary from month to month and year to year. A savings plan can help create more security through the ups and downs.

Key Takeaways

  • Having an accessible savings fund can help you cover unexpected costs without throwing off your budget.

  • You can have multiple accounts, like an emergency savings and vacation fund.  

  • Saving on a consistent basis, regardless of your cash flow, can help you create a financial foundation.

As a professional tennis player at the top of your game, or working your way to the top, you’ve got big expenses. There are professional expenses: Coaching and training fees. Travel for you and your team. Equipment. Insurance. And don’t forget your personal expenses, such as rent or a mortgage, cell phone, groceries, clothing and everything else.


Covering all of these costs can be stressful. Having a spending plan can help you keep track of your expenses, but it’s equally important to have a savings plan, which can give you a cushion if there’s a period when you bring in less money due to an injury or a series of losses. Here are seven things to think about as you create a savings plan.  

1. Treat your plan like your training


When you train, you likely have important goals, like building more endurance or strengthening your serve. Think of saving money the same way. First, get specific how much you’re earning and how much you’re spending. This is the basis of your spending plan, which will help alleviate some of your money-management pressure. 


Once you know how much you’re spending, you’ll know how much you can save—either a dollar amount or percentage of your income—every week or every month. Then, determine your goals for saving as you would decide on goals for training. This may include an emergency account, career savings goals (like travel expenses), or personal savings goals (like taking a vacation or buying a car or a house).  


2. Pay yourself first


It’s important to treat your savings as any other essential expense, like paying your trainers, coaches and others who help on your quest to be the best. Having a savings fund that is easily accessible can help you reach financial goals and cover unexpected costs without throwing off your budget. When you prioritize saving for yourself, even if the contributions are smaller than other expenses, you’ll be surprised at how much your savings can add up.

Your emergency fund will depend on your unique circumstances, but a good guideline is to have the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of expenses in an easily accessible account.
3. Create an emergency fund

Having a stash of cash on hand can help you more easily manage unexpected expenses. Your emergency fund will depend on your unique circumstances, but a good guideline is to have the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of expenses in an easily accessible account. Use these funds only for “emergencies” like replacing equipment or loss of income due to injury. That way, cash flow crunches are less likely to disrupt your savings plan.


4. Get comfortable with "no"


As your success on the court translates into earnings, you may have people approach you with financial opportunities or ask for financial support. Family and friends may be well-meaning, but more often than not, requests for money may not be in line with your goals. A concrete spending plan that shows you where your money goes will help you know when to say "no.”


5. Use the right tools


There are a number of savings vehicles that you can consider. See if your bank offers a high-yield savings account or money market account, which may pay attractive interest rates, as good options for your emergency fund. Once you have a well-padded emergency fund, you might consider a certificate of deposit (CD) for savings goals such as buying a house. CDs generally offer higher interest rates than savings or money market accounts, but you have to commit your money to the CD for a certain amount of time, and pay a fee if you decide to take it out early. 


6. Make saving easy


Check with your financial institution to see if it offers digital tools to automatically transfer money to your savings account each month, letting you eliminate one more thing on your “to do” list so you can focus on your game. If that’s not an option for you, contribute to your savings accounts each time you make a deposit. When you make saving a habit, it becomes easier to flex that muscle.    


Help set yourself up for success


When you save on a consistent basis, regardless of your cash flow, you’re helping to create a solid foundation for yourself. The sooner you start, the likely better off you’ll be in case something unexpected happens.



Personalized Financial Advice

Build a plan to help you navigate your complex financial decisions and achieve the future you want, with a Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment Financial Advisor dedicated to serving the needs of professional athletes.


Start the conversation: whatmovesyou@morganstanley.com

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