Young. Talented. Invested.
GSE Money in the Making08/04/23
Nailing that buzzer-beater in the final seconds, belting out the perfect note to a sea of cheering fans, or watching your social media post blow up—these are the moments that give young athletes or entertainers that sweet taste of victory. However, their financial journey holds its own kind of thrill: and it can be one that’s just as gratifying.
It’s not uncommon for a young athlete or entertainer to think, "I don't need to worry about investing. I'll sign a big contract and then money will be no object.” But the truth is, even the most successful athletes and entertainers have investment strategies. It’s how they help secure their futures beyond their careers, and it’s how they help build their legacies.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a “corporate suit” or a Wall Street tycoon. It just means you should keep a mindful approach to your finances. That way you’re making educated decisions about your money and ensuring that it's working diligently on your behalf. To do that, it helps to know the rules of investing.
Rule #1 - find your balance: risk vs. return
If you’re trying to become a pro athlete or entertainer, you already know that the odds of making it big are slim. You’ve got to grind for years, working toward a single goal with no guaranteed payoff. So why take that risk? Well, because the potential reward (aka return) is every bit as huge.
Now, let’s compare that to investing. Similar to practicing your craft to improve your skills, you have to do your due diligence and research before making any investment decisions. And just like you might take a leap of faith when going pro, you have to be willing to accept some level of risk as an investor.
But here's the thing: smart investing isn't all-or-nothing. You don't have to put everything on the line. In fact, you really shouldn’t. The smart play is to balance your investments between higher and lower risk opportunities. In fancy financial speak, this strategy is called “diversification.”
Unlike the risk of trying to become a pro athlete or entertainer, you have more control over your potential risks when it comes to investing. In general, the higher the risk, the higher the potential return. But the key to smart investing is to achieve a balance.
Rule #2 - OPT 2: don’t sleep on inflation
Ever notice how normal everyday things—groceries, energy drinks, concert tickets—seem to get a little more expensive every year? That’s inflation. It’s pretty simple in theory: When prices go up, your dollars are worth less. But in practice, it can be like an invisible leak, slowly shrinking your real wealth.
What does this all mean for your investing approach? It means if your investments aren't earning enough to beat inflation, you're actually losing money without even realizing it. That’s why you need to find investments that have a solid track record of beating inflation, or ones that specifically aim to keep pace with it. The point is, you have to be proactive and think ahead—because if you're not, inflation can creep up on you and eat away at your returns.
Inflation is when things get more expensive over time, making your dollars worth less. That’s why you want to find investments that aim beat or at least match the inflation rate—otherwise you're actually losing money, not making it.
Rule #3 - diversify your investment squad
When athletes get recruited by a college, the coach will often emphasize the importance of getting a college degree. The reasoning is simple, it's a solid backup plan if their dreams of going pro don't quite pan out. Well, diversification is basically that degree, but for your investments.
Imagine you only invest in one stock and it tanks. Basically, you’re cooked—your whole investing strategy got blown up. On the other hand, if you diversify by spreading your money across different types of investments—some riskier, some safer—not every investment has to pan out for you to perform well overall. It’s like on the court, when your jumper isn’t falling, you want to have a whole arsenal of other moves to get it done.
Think of a diversified investment portfolio kind of like a fire sneaker collection. You want some super rare kicks for a special occasion, but you also need some go-to’s for rainy days. Here’s a breakdown of diverse investments, in sneaker-speak:
- Money Market Funds are like basic white kicks. They're a safe choice, but often don’t offer much return on your investment.
- Bonds are like a classic pair with low-key swag. They're pretty safe but can potentially offer some returns.
- Stocks From big name companies are like those limited editions from established brands that you camp out for, riskier because of the high sticker price, but with the potential for big gains.
- Stocks From smaller companies are like small batch drops from those up-and-coming brands. They can be a little less expensive because they might never make it big. But if they do, it could pay off with a bigger return.
Diversification is when you spread your investments across different types of investments (some riskier, others safer), and it’s a key to smart investing. That way, if one investment doesn't perform well, the others may pick up the slack.
Rule #4 - find your (asset allocation) sweet spot
Time to talk asset allocation—a fancy term for how you divvy up your money into those different types of investments that we just talked about. Basically, it all comes down to figuring out your investor profile, which means determining your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon.
First up, risk tolerance. This is how much risk you're comfortable taking on. Are you the type who gets nervous at the thought of losing a dime? If so, probably best to stick to low risk, low reward investments like money market funds and bonds. On the other hand, if you’re unfazed by the idea of your investments going up and down like a rollercoaster — then you might consider higher risk assets like stocks since they offer the potential for a higher reward. But even investors with ice in their veins have to ask themselves: how much can I actually afford to lose?
Next, investment goals. Look at the big picture. What do you want your money to do for you? Are you trying to get rich off your investments? Or are you just trying to keep up with inflation so you don’t lose money over time? Whatever your goal is, it’ll go hand-in-hand with what’s called your “time horizon.”
Time horizon is just how long you plan on keeping your investments before you cash out. For example, if you're a college freshman investing money for retirement in 40 years, you could potentially be more aggressive with your investments because you can ride out the ups and downs. But if you're a senior who wants to use investment income to help pay off student loans next year, you may want to play it safer.
To find the right mix of investments, ask yourself how comfortable you are with ups and downs, what you want your money to do for you, and how long you plan to keep your investments.
Stepping into the realm of professional sports or entertainment carries some risk, just as investing does. But astute investing is about more than risk—it's about informed decisions. It’s about doing your research and achieving a balance by diversifying your investments. That way, you can stand a better chance of making money without getting burned. It’s also about doing your best to match or beat inflation—otherwise you'll be losing money without even realizing it. Then, figure out what you want your investment money for, and when you’ll need it. Lastly, remember that different investments have different tax implications, and a financial professional can help you figure out the right investment strategy for you.
Smart investing doesn't only set you up for a secure future, but it also paves the way for a legacy that extends beyond the field, stage, or screen. Ready to set the stage for your next act?