For many of the world’s top athletes, the Olympics represents the peak of their career not only as a sporting accomplishment, but in earning potential as well.
In addition to receiving bonus checks for landing themselves on the medal stand — each gold medalist for Team USA received $37,500 at the most recent summer games — successful competitors will have their best opportunity to land lucrative endorsement deals.
Though the 224 athletes representing the United States this month have been training to perform as well as possible, they also need to manage their money well beyond when they get back from China.
Here’s the best financial advice five American athletes headed to Beijing for the Winter Olympic Games say they ever received.
Shaun White, snowboarder
“Somebody sat me down and really explained the concept of compounding interest,” White said. “It’s letting your money work for you rather than being out there trying to make moves. It doesn’t sound as enticing as this big elaborate plan to be financially stable, but it’s definitely proven through time.”
Erin Jackson, speedskater
″[The best advice I received is] probably to invest instead of just putting my money into a traditional savings account that earns pennies,” Jackson said.
Declan Farmer, paralympic hockey player
“We have a lot of financial gurus on our team,” Farmer said. ”[They taught me to] invest in index funds. You don’t need to go through a broker and pay all these high fees. Just do it yourself.”
The two-time Paralympic gold medalist added that budgeting is also an important skill to master.
“Being honest about what you’re spending money on, what things could be cut out [is big],” Farmer said. “Having an awareness of your means and not spending more than what you’re bringing in.”
Vincent Zhou, figure skater
“My dad told me that you don’t become wealthy by saving up money,” Zhou said. “You have to take risks and make worthy investments.”
Zhou added that he also learned to not “be afraid to spend where you need it.”
Emily Sweeney, luge
“There’s always money to be made,” Sweeney said. “You just have to be willing to go and get it.”
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