12 Ways the Olympics Teach You About Money Management

Posted by Madison on July 31, 2012

I originally published this article 4 years ago during the last Olympics. I thought it would be fun to revisit the list as we’re enjoying the 2012 Olympics! I updated a few of the news links, but as I was rereading it, ironically, most of the financial lessons still apply!

What do the Olympics and money management have in common? Plenty! As I was watching the opening ceremonies and the first few events last weekend, I saw lots of ways to improve your finances. Here are the financial tips that I found. Feel free to add more lessons that you see during the next couple weeks!

Photo source: Dave Catchpole

Olympics and Money Management

  1. International Diversification. The parade of nations in the opening ceremonies should be a reminder of how big the world really is. Be sure to have an appropriate asset allocation, with enough international diversification.
  2. Prepare for the worst. Unfortunately death and illness can happen far from home, even at the Olympics. You may want to check your insurance policies for transportation back to your home country in the event of an emergency.
  3. Budgeting. If watching all the fanfare makes you want to attend the next Olympics, here’s how to see the Olympics on a budget.
  4. Savings goals. If you want to go to an Olympics, start saving now for the next Olympics in 4 years or the Winter Olympics in 2 years. Plan ahead to line up frequent flyer miles and no foreign transaction fee credit cards to make your money stretch further.
  5. Age is just a number. Dara Torres showed us just that when she competed in Beijing as a 41 year old in Olympic swimming. If your goal is to retire in your 40s don’t let people tell you that you can’t!
  6. Free technology is amazing. It really is! Not only can you watch the Olympics online and catch all your favorite events, but if that isn’t good enough there are lots of other options including mobile apps, alternative viewing, and backdoor options for live viewing.
  7. Live below your means. Even though Britain’s economy may still be in a recession, the Olympics are expensive and have long term impacts to the city financially. Past host cities have gone into debt just to host the Olympics.
  8. Sports are expensive. The time and money involved to train the athletes is enormous. If you are a die hard sports fan, but don’t have any sponsors, save money by finding creative ways to get inexpensive sports equipment.
  9. Teach your children. Learning about foreign nations is a great opportunity to teach kids about foreign money.
  10. Generate multiple income streams. An injury for an athlete could mean a loss of millions of dollars in advertising revenue. Hopefully they have a back up plan. Do yourself a favor and diversify your income.
  11. Limited opportunities in your lifetime. The Olympics only come around every four years for the athletes. The same is probably true of opportunities in your life, some come very infrequently and some come only once in a lifetime. Always be ready to take advantage of one. Will we look back at the current ridiculously low mortgage rates as a once in a lifetime opportunity?
  12. Get back to basics. Athletes repeatedly focus on the fundamentals. Do the same for your finances with the five fundamentals of financial success.

What is your favorite part of the Olympics?

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Comments to 12 Ways the Olympics Teach You About Money Management

  1. I love this twist of financial advice. 😉


    Marc and Angel Hack Life

  2. The opening ceremonies reminded me of another one. Big parties are expensive! Smaller gatherings are cheaper than big elaborate ones, plus they’re more intimate. Your goal isn’t to impress the world with your parties, just to have fun 🙂


  3. Thought-provoking post. I LOVE the way you’ve drawn these true-life examples from the Olympics.

    At my site you can read about a company that was directly and adversely affected by the Olympics.


  4. @ Ben: Perfect addition to the list! Big parties are expensive (as I think about my wedding that could have been much, much smaller!)


  5. What a unique article and combo of finances and the Olympics! Nice work

    Katie Christianson

  6. Nice article – I like the way you’ve linked events from the Olympics to real-life scenarios we can all relate to. I must however disagree with the sentiment that the Olympics will cost London financially – I think quite the opposite. It’s forecast that the Olympics generated over £13billion for the UK economy, which is a real shot in the arm and can hopefully kick-start our faltering economy.

    Accountants Central London

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