Why Athletes need another career plan
Being a professional athlete is one of the most fulfilling and amazing careers ever! You’re playing a sport you’ve loved playing since you were a kid and now you’re getting paid well for it. Most people dream of being pro athletes, yet less then 1% become one. Fans adore you, people look up to you, kids idolize you, you’re a role model, everything is given to you and most athletes get to travel the world. Of course, you worked hard to get to that level and you deserve it.
However, know that being a pro athlete is a short career and be savvy enough to start planning for Another Plan A. Reality is, most athletes don’t make enough money throughout their careers to support themselves and their families post sports.
Here are the average salaries and length of careers in the major Australian professional leagues:
NRL: Average salary $313k, average playing career 3 years.
AFL: Average salary $371k, average playing career 6 years.
Domestic Cricket: Average salary $234k, playing career 6 years.
A-league: Average salary $99k, playing career 6-8 years
NBL: Average salary $79k, playing career 5-7 years
Remember, this is the average and not the median which is slightly lower. (most athletes are not lucky enough to have an “average career”)
Let’s take best case scenario here, which is AFL: if you play for 6 years you will earn $2.26 million. Of course, with cost of living, rent, other bills, entertainment, being conservative let’s say you keep $1.5 million. Average cost of housing in Sydney is just over $1 mill, so you still don’t make enough to buy a home. Plus, let’s say you retire at 30, you still have 70 years ahead of you so the $2.26 mil of course won’t cut it. Clearly, this is all common sense and simple but must be said to emphasise the importance of why athletes need to start planning for a post sports career, during their sporting careers.
The good news is, the skills and attributes you built in sports are highly desirable and sought after by many businesses and hiring managers. You know the meaning of hard work, you listen, you’re resilient, competitive, hungry for success and very persistent – to name a few.
Enjoy your sporting career whilst it lasts, as it’s an unforgettable period of your life. However, in order to secure a smooth transition into a post sports career, the preparation needs to start whilst you are a pro athlete! Start searching for a passion outside your sport, so when retirement (or god forbid injury) comes you are ready to transition into another career.