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How Do Retired Athletes Make Money?
To make it to the level of being a professional, paid athlete is no small feat.
Every year, less than 2 percent of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) go on to be recruited and play their sport professionally.
And, out of those who are offered a signed contract to play, many won’t see much financial payout, as they either won’t get much playing time, or they’ll get injured and their careers will end long before they planned.
Professional athletics is a complicated career choice. Yes, these athletes are getting to do what they love (and be paid for it!) but there is also an enormous pressure that comes along with that level of compensation. And, just because the top professional athletes may be making millions of dollars, they often have a lifestyle that is quite extravagant and that doesn’t end just because they retire.
It is also not uncommon for professional athletes to be in a position of supporting others with their paycheck as well.
Because of their rigorous schedules, many professional athletes have assistants, trainers, security detail, and house help all as part of their entourage. Each of these people is also benefiting from the athlete’s large salary.
So…when an athlete retires, what do they do in order to continue to have an income, particularly one that can keep them in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to? How does someone who was making possibly millions of dollars compensate for that when they are no longer lacing up their sneakers or donning their jersey for the big Monday night game?
1. Retired Athletes Make Money by Using Their Personality for Endorsement Deals
Perhaps the most popular and simplest way that a retired professional athlete is able to continue to earn money after retirement is through various endorsement deals that are offered to them when they retire.
Though many athletes will make money through endorsement deals while they are still playing, these offers can become even more lucrative once they are no longer playing their sport - in large part because they will have more time to dedicate to them.
Take George Foreman, for example.
After being one of the toughest and top boxers of all time, he has gone on to make a completely new name for himself as the face of the George Foreman grill.
Many who never knew him as a boxer now know him as a household name, thanks to the thousands of kitchen grills and other appliances he has now sold for Salton, the company that originally designed and manufactured the grill.
Though no one knows exactly how much Foreman is worth today, it’s said that the grill company originally paid Foreman over 13 million dollars to be the spokesperson and the name behind their latest gadget, when they unveiled it in 1994.
Not a bad endorsement deal!
Big named players all over the world have been known to go on and make this kind of money by getting involved with products they feel fit their personality. From colognes to kitchen goods, many brands have greatly benefitted from adding a retired athletic spokesperson to their payroll.
And the retired athlete has benefitted as well.
2. Retired Athletes Make Money by Coaching Younger Athletes or Teams
Another area that retired athletes can continue to see a paycheck hitting their bank account is to take one training or coaching gig after they themselves are no longer participating in their sport.
Depending on the level at which they decide to train or coach, this type of after-retirement opportunity can sometimes be more for the enjoyment of helping younger athletes become more skilled in their sport.
We hear stories of a professional baseball player coaching his son’s little league team.
Or, the ever-infamous Kobe Bryant who was not only known for his legendary skills on the court, but also for his dedication to coaching his young daughter’s basketball team for years after his retirement.
Those types of coaching stints probably aren’t going to pay all the bills for a retired athlete, but they most likely get great joy from them instead.
Then, there are other retired athletes who are making a living by training or coaching, once they’ve finished playing themselves.
Many go on to work with top-ranking college students, hoping to help them secure professional positions. Some will also work with Olympic teams, helping their athletes to prepare on a worldwide level.
Staying involved in their sport through coaching and training opportunities is a favorite pastime of retired athletes. And - it can help them financially as well.
3. Retired Athletes Make Money by Starting New Business Ventures
When you have played a sport on a professional level, you know what it takes to put in the time and effort to be successful.
Sure, top-earning athletes have some natural skills that they are born with. But they also need to know how to hone that skill in a way that pays off for them long term.
Because of this level of dedication and discipline, retired athletes are often known to strike out into the world of business, after their playing days are over.
Some will be involved in business ventures solely from an investment standpoint, putting large amounts of their own money into endeavors they believe will be a financial benefit to them later.
Others will start their own businesses, sometimes in the field of athletics and sometimes deciding to do something completely different.
Take David Beckham, for instance. After his glorious years on the pitch, this iconic soccer star has gone on to make a large sum of money off of his many clothing lines and colognes. Though he’ll never be forgotten for his years playing soccer, he’ll also be remembered for a line of stylish and affordable clothing line that has filled his bank account as well.
Business ventures after being a sports star can greatly pay off for those athletes who are innovative and resourceful in their retirement years.