Beyond the game: Financial strategies and insights from football icons

When it comes to South African football, the pitch isn’t the only place where players need to excel. Financial literacy and wellness are just as critical for both current and former athletes, as well as budding stars. This year, as part of the Nedbank Cup, Nedbank has tackled this vital issue head-on, highlighting the importance of financial education for footballers.

In a recent round table discussion hosted by TikTok sensation Primo Baloyi, two football legends, Stanton ‘Stiga’ Fredericks and Siphiwe ‘Shabba’ Tshabalala, were joined by Linda Gcwabe, Nedbank’s Strategic Relationship and Consumer Education Manager, to discuss the unique financial challenges faced within the industry. Their conversation also offered valuable insights into managing money during and after a professional sports career.

The conversation kicked off by addressing the fact that young athletes need to strike a balance between lifestyle choices and long-term financial well-being. Gcwabe emphasised the importance of creating wealth early by saying, ‘A personal budget is a must for everything that you need. And most importantly, get a good financial planner to guide you.’

According to the 2023 NedFinHealth Monitor Report, younger individuals are more likely to be financially healthy than older individuals, largely due to the minimal expenses they have. However, planning for your monthly expenses is essential to achieving your short- and long-term financial goals.

Reflecting on his career, Shabba shared a message with his younger self: ‘You don’t have to wait until you start earning a lot of money to start saving. It’s important to start investing early, to have options after your playing days, and to always make provision for your pension.’

The discussion also touched on the financial setbacks athletes might experience, such as not having sufficient long-term savings. Approximately 14% of South Africans are moderately confident, while 11% are very confident that they are on track to meet their long-term financial goals.

A dire fact is that 65% of South Africans do not have retirement annuities, and it gets even more severe for footballers, whose careers often end in their mid-30s. Stanton recounted a mistake from his past: ‘One of the mistakes I made was taking out a policy that didn’t align with the retirement age of footballers, which is 30. Therefore, understanding your budget and saving are crucial, especially since signing fees are heavily taxed.’

Money management is critical not only for young footballers but also for those hoping for a financially stable life post-retirement by pursuing lucrative business opportunities.

Siphiwe shared his experience with business investments: ‘Thinking that investing in a business means immediate profit is a misconception. A lack of knowledge can lead to setbacks. I managed to recover, but those were the good lessons for ensuring that other future businesses are successful.’

The need for early financial education was a recurring theme throughout the roundtable. Gcwabe noted: ‘Financial literacy is not just about understanding how to save and invest, but also about planning for the future.’ She also highlighted the role of institutions like Nedbank in helping athletes navigate their financial journeys with the necessary tools.

Primo then summarised the key takeaways: ‘Keep working, keep saving, and keep budgeting.’ This emphasises that financial education is crucial, and with the right guidance, today’s players can secure their futures both on and off the pitch.

The Nedbank Cup campaign continues to shine a light on the importance of financial literacy, offering valuable lessons and resources to help footballers and aspiring athletes achieve long-term financial wellness. Through initiatives like these and products such as the MiGoals Plus Account, Nedbank aims to foster a financially healthier South Africa, one person at a time.

Find out more about the 2023 NedFinHealth Monitor Report and join Nedbank in shaping a financially savvy future for everyone.

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