Professional tennis players have unique considerations when it comes to earning and managing money. You operate independently, meaning you are in charge of your own business; your performance, including your personal brand, are your products. When it comes to earning a living, conducting your business independently means you have different considerations and planning challenges than someone who earns a salary. You may earn income from multiple sources at different times, like tournament winnings or sponsorship payments. In addition, you likely have fixed expenses like mortgage payments or coaching fees and variable costs like travel.
Developing a system for managing your money is a way to help minimize financial stress so that you can keep your focus on your game. Consider these moves to help build a solid financial foundation.
1. Know the different ways to get paid
As a professional tennis player, you have opportunities to make money in several different ways, including:
- Tournament prize money
- Federation subsidies
- Brand or product endorsements
- Personal sponsor-related contract bonuses
- Other tennis competition earnings (exhibitions, club matches, appearance fees)
In order to keep track of your money, take some time to calculate your earnings. This should include all payments you receive, including your regular income or occasional payments from winnings and sponsorships. Consider making a spending plan for regular costs like housing, food, equipment and coaching fees to help keep track of the money coming in and going out. When your earnings are more than your expenses, you’re ready to start saving and investing to build a solid financial foundation for yourself.
2. Avoid money-management failures
Professional tennis players are not immune to financial failures. There are many examples of athletes who were at the top of their game but didn’t turn their success into financial security.
Since your income can vary significantly based on your tournament results and other opportunities over time, you need to be especially disciplined about how you manage your money. While you can enjoy the benefits of your success, you also need to be ready for setbacks. For example, if you are injured or have a run of poor tournament performance, you’ll need enough savings to cover your regular expenses and any other costs you may face while recovering. A good rule of thumb for aspiring young professional athletes is to spend no more than 60% of your after-tax income.