Plan Early, Make No Emotional Moves: Serena Williams’ Career Can Inspire You to Ace Your Financial Game


For most tennis enthusiasts and sports lovers across the world, the legacy of Serena Williams goes far beyond the popular racquet sport. The sheer force of her victories and achievements, both on and off-court, in her 27-year-long career, is a strong reminder of her uncontested dominance as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. After all, 23 Grand Slam titles and 1,000+ victories on the court don’t come easy.

She recently announced her retirement from the game, post the ongoing US Open. Although going by her spirited first-round victory over Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, it surely seems that the curtains on the Serena show are some time away from being drawn.

But as she prepares to evolve out of the game, it is befitting to look back at her exceptional career and the financial wisdom it inspires. Here are some points you can take home (or to your money court) to ace your financial planning:

Start Saving Early

Williams turned pro when she was just 14 years old. She won her first single Grand Slam in 1999, at 17 years of age. And for the next two decades, she continued ruling the court. But it did not come easy. She, along with her sister, another tennis legend Venus Williams, was home-schooled, so that they could focus more on the game. That’s where her record of 1,076 wins and 192 losses stems from.

The earlier you start with your financial planning, the more time your funds will have to compound and grow. Starting with your pocket money, first stipend, or paycheque gives you time in the markets.

Say you start saving Rs 1,000/month at 20 years of age. By the time you turn 40, you’d have set aside Rs 2,40,000. And at 12% p.a., the market would have added a further Rs 7,59,148 to your corpus, making it close to Rs 10 lakh.

If you start setting aside the same amount 10 years later, at 30 years, you’ll end up with Rs 1,20,000 in your funds and another Rs 1,12,339 added by the market. See the difference? It pays to start as soon as possible.

Have a Plan in Place

With her $250 million net worth, Serena is headed straight to the offices of her company, Serena Ventures from the tennis court. Her firm, which empowers businesses of women and people of colour, will become her new priority.

When we are young, being old looks like a distant, faint idea that needs no immediate consideration. But it does. Spiralling inflation and the rising cost of living means expenses in our twilight years will be far more pocket-burning and expensive than they are right now. So, don’t forget to eke out money for when and what you plan to do after you bid your job farewell. Having a plan in place will help you thrive in the later years of your life.

Investments are Down? Don’t Make Emotional Decisions

In her prime, Serena held the position of the world’s foremost female tennis player for 319 weeks. Out of these, only 186 weeks were consecutive. And presently, she ranks 605th in the world. The current No. 1, Iga Swiatek, was born two years after Serena won her first Grand Slam.

Just like tennis legends, markets, too, don’t stay the same. The value of your investments will ebb and rise, but the key is to ensure your long-term financial objectives are fulfilled. The market evens out in the long run and rewards the patient, but don’t panic sell your investments in a downturn or low period, only to regret it later. Stick with them. The reward will eventually be a portfolio that delivers No.1 returns.

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