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  • Jacob Turner

The Moment Guide to Budgeting for Professional Athletes

Let me set the stage.

You go from being able to barely afford Chipotle to being able to buy anything.

You go from never considering that big purchase to realizing you could cover it with one paycheck.

So is the journey from amateur athlete to professional athlete.

The reality is as a professional athlete you can buy almost anything yet that doesn’t mean you can afford it (more on that later).

You see the foundational element for building wealth is knowing your numbers.

The number every athlete should know…What does it cost to be?

If the paychecks stopped tomorrow, how much would it cost monthly to keep living the same lifestyle?

Most athletes do this backward, they build the lifestyle and fingers crossed they have saved enough to sustain it in retirement.

The reality is we need to start with the end in mind and work our way backward.

  • We know the paychecks will stop.

  • We know our careers as athletes will end.

  • We know that our expenses and bills will continue.

In this guide, I am going to break down a key component of financial planning for professional athletes, budgeting.

We will discuss the dos, don’ts, and frameworks to build spending habits that can be sustained far after your playing career is over.

Budgeting for Profressional Athletes

Budgeting for Professional Athletes

Let’s not overcomplicate this, you can only do three things with money.

  • Save it

  • Spend it

  • Give it away

Seriously, that is it.

I am going to let you in on a little secret. The athletes who end their careers with the most money are not always the athletes who earn the most.

They are the athletes that set a good foundation from day 1.

It is far easier to set up good spending habits early on than it is to pull back the reins years in.

I mean think about it, once you go on the trip, pick up the fancy car, and buy the “dream house” you are not going to want to downgrade.

Look that is the goal, that you build a lifestyle (slowly) throughout your career and put yourself in a position to continue that lifestyle after your career finishes.

The good news?

For many athletes you can do this without being the star, making an All-Star team, or delivering a Hall of Fame speech.

Let’s dive in…

Types of Purchases

There are a million (and a half) things you can buy.

Yet, they can all be broken down into one of two buckets.

1.     Reward Purchases Something you buy one time to reward yourself for your accomplishment (getting drafted, signing the free agent deal, etc.…).

2.     Lifestyle PurchasesSomething you can continue to buy year after year (think ongoing expenses).

The issue professional athletes run into is we often combine these two types of purchases.

  • The new car becomes a habit.

  • The dream house turns into two houses.

  • The once-in-a-lifetime trip turns into a yearly retreat.

Instead, we need to be clear on what are the things we can reward ourselves with and the things we can afford (not buy) on a daily/weekly/yearly basis.

Consider this example:

Player 1 buys a new escalade for signing a new contract and keeps it for six years.

***Total cost of $111,000

Player 2 buys a new escalade every two years needing the “new technology”.

***Total cost of $333,000

Player 1 needed to earn ~ $185,000 to buy that Escalade (40% tax rate).

Player 2 needed to earn ~ $555,000 to buy a new Escalade every two years.

Compounding that is Player 1 now has $222,000 less in his nest egg for retirement.

You see how this cycle compounds and before you know it a player's “normal” is one that is unsustainable?

So remember, the key for any professional athlete is to group their purchases between rewards and lifestyle ones.

Fixed vs. Flexible

I talk a lot about compounding. This idea is that once you put something in motion it continues to build off of the previous efforts.

It is true in sports, investing, and spending.

You see compounding can work in the reverse when it comes to spending for professional athletes.

To understand how this plays out we first have to understand the two types of expenses.

Fixed: These costs are not going away and are hard to change (think housing).

Flexible: We could reduce these costs rather quickly if needed (think vacations).

Those fixed costs can’t be turned on a dime and the vast majority compound on top of each other.

Consider this example:

You purchase a home for $1,000,000.

Now come all your fixed costs...

  • Mortgage

  • Insurance

  • Maintenance

  • Property Taxes

You see how that one fixed cost (your house) now leads to several more fixed costs.

Oh and if you want to downsize and sell it get ready for a laundry list of additional costs.

Now look there is nothing wrong with home ownership we just need to know what we are getting into.

For athletes, the key is understanding is the thing I am buying a fixed or flexible costs.

Because remember costs can compound just as quickly as anything else.

Benjamins not Pennies

Remember how I said you need to know your numbers or the “cost to be you”.

You do, but don’t fret you don’t need to track it down to your coffee order.

You can (and I do) but that is not the majority of athletes.

Instead, I want you to consider this:

If you were walking down the street and you saw a penny would you pick it up?

Maybe, maybe not…

Now consider you are walking down the street and you see a 100-dollar bill, would you pick it up?

Ya no brainer…

Ok so let’s think about tracking our spending the same way.

We want to know what the core expenses are.

Here is an example:

If you told me you knew how much your meals costs, housing costs, and transportation costs you would be ahead of the vast majority of professional athletes.

You see these are the three core expenses.

Now look there are plenty of things outside of this that come into daily life but we can walk before we run.

I recommend athletes start with a monthly budget and work backward.

Here is an example:

Let’s say we are shooting for $4,000 per month.

In the first few months, we are spending $3,000 per month

Do we have to know every single expense that went into that? No, but we know we are in a good place.

Now let's say we have the same $4,000 budget and we are spending $5,000 per month.

Now we need to do a deeper dive into where this money is going.

Hear me when I say this, it does not have to be perfect you just need to start thinking about it.


The Perfect Outcome

The reality is no professional athlete earning millions of dollars should ever be a headline for Bankruptcy.

Yet it happens and it will continue to happen.

The reason is simpler than you think.

Step 1: Comingle reward purchases and lifestyle purchases

Step 2: Fail to realize the difference between fixed vs. flexible expenses

Step 3: Combine steps 1 and 2 with not knowing the cost to be you and boom.

Athletes you can hire the best team in the world (and you should) but your money is still your responsibility.

Delegation (having someone help you) is important but be careful not to over-delegate.

You want to be the guy in the locker room who has an idea of what is going on not the player who just says, “I got a guy”.

Understanding what you are spending, where it is going, and how that affects your future is critical.


If you are a future, current, or former professional athlete looking for more from your financial team, schedule a call with a founder.

Look, we get it, money can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

At Moment, our mission has stayed the same since day one.

To build a firm focused on helping the people we know best, athletes and entrepreneurs.

Get in Touch With An Advisor

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions I received frequently about this topic.

  1. How does Moment Private Wealth help athletes budget? We work with athletes to ensure they know their core expenses and build a budget based on that.

  2. Does Moment Private Wealth help athletes set up savings and checking accounts? Yes, we have a private banking relationship specifically designed for professional athletes. This ensures our athletes are getting everything they need to have successful outcomes.

  3. How do you ensure your clients do not end up as another statistic? The reality is most athletes want to do it right but surround themselves with “Yes Men”. We pride ourselves on speaking truth to our clients even if it is not always what they want to hear.

  4. What is a reasonable budget for professional athletes? I will give you the best worst answer, it depends. For recently drafted athletes a budget of a few thousand a month is reasonable but for players making tens of millions per year or more the math can change quickly.

  5. How do you help athletes balance spending now versus saving for the future? This is one of the biggest tug-of-war for professional athletes. We want our athletes to be able to use the money they have but also be aware of the value of a dollar. Given the age in which athletes earn their income the value of each dollar today is arguably two, three, or even five times higher based on future investment returns.


*Moment Private Wealth offers information on tax and estate planning that is general in nature. Tax and Legal advice are not provided by Moment Private Wealth. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Financial Advisors for professional athletes and entrepreneurs






2 Cityplace Drive
2nd Floor

St. Louis, MO  63141

(314) 597-8350


Become a part of the Moment community and join us in building enduring wealth and a legacy of impact.


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Thanks for subscribing!


Become a part of the Moment community for and join us in building enduring wealth and a legacy of impact.






2 Cityplace Drive
2nd Floor

St. Louis, MO  63141

(314) 597-8350


Become a part of the Moment community and join us in building enduring wealth and a legacy of impact.

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