People Running Sunset

Sports stars – start saving early or face the consequences

Peter Fairchild, Partner, Private Clients
15/02/2023
People Running Sunset
To get to the heart of the financial issues affecting the modern footballer, we conducted a series of in-depth interviews with key figures from the game. We spoke with international footballers (past and present) and player liaison officers who care for the players as well as the agents who help manage their careers. Using the results of the survey we’ve highlighted the key financial difficulties footballers face and offer practical solutions to help them to avoid the common pitfalls.

When we asked the industry what piece of financial information they wish they had known at the start of their career, three strong themes emerged:

  1. how to save for life after football
  2. when to start saving
  3. how to pick the right advisor to help accomplish their goals.

Savings plan

“The total number of payslips a footballer will get over their career lasting, say, 18 years (if they are very lucky) is 216. Not a great deal. It is sobering and serves as a powerful reminder of how soon it is all over,” says one leading sports agent.

At Crowe, we recognise that the career of an active football player is relatively brief and provide cashflow models to encourage clients to split their net income into three pots: the first to cover living costs, such as mortgages or rent, transport and bills; another to help prepare for retirement through savings and investments; and a third to enjoy on things like holidays, jewellery and leisure activities.

The Head of Player Care at a leading London Premier League Football Club encourages all sportspeople not to ignore pot two, explaining “money most often makes money, if looked after correctly.”

Start early

“Young players need financial guidance,” states a former Premier League goalkeeper with over 40 international caps and more than 300 top flight appearances. “By getting into good financial habits early, players can concentrate on their career without the distraction of financial concerns.”

Our experienced, specialist team speaks directly to players, whether it’s the young scholars or the first team. We deliver a tailored approach that can help any sportsperson, agent or team learn the basics of savings and investments.

Seek a trusted advisor

Practical financial education delivered by our specialists can help players get on top of the issues early, before they snowball into larger ones.

A parent of a current Manchester United player recommends: “Get a sports accountant in at the beginning and start a relationship before the money rolls in. The development of trust between client and advisor, before the player becomes a household name, should not be underestimated.”

The parent also mentions that there are other benefits of having a trusted advisor in place early as you can: “take the accountant to the negotiation table so they can decide the best way to be paid from the club or third-party sponsor for a commercial deal.”

“Pay very close attention to who is investing your money and where they are investing it,” encourages a former England international with over 500 top flight appearances. “High rewards on paper may not necessarily come to fruition and, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”

It is vital that players research the people offering them financial advice and check their credentials. All good financial advisers whether they are offering tax, pension or financial planning advice should be able to prove their qualifications and provide testimonials from existing clients about the service received, as well as explaining where an individual can seek redress should an issue arise.

For more information on the issues discussed in this article or to discuss your individual circumstances, get in touch with Peter Fairchild or your usual Crowe contact.

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Answering some of our frequently asked tax questions from our clients who are sportspeople and entertainers.
Outlining some of the key tax issues to bear in mind when separating or getting divorced.
Have you made the most of your annual allowances? It is your last chance to take advantage of the tax planning opportunities in advance of 5 April.
Details of the Statutory Residence Test introduced, three-part core structure.
Peter Fairchild appointed new sports and entertainment partner to further develop and grow the market-leading private client practice.

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Peter Fairchild
Peter Fairchild
Partner, Private Clients
London