Personal Finance Lessons from the Olympics

‘Citius Altius Fortius’ meaning Faster, Higher, Stronger  is the motto of Olympics. The ultimate sporting event for athletes to do their best, win medals for their country and gain sporting glory. There is a lot of hard work, tears, sweat and blood behind qualifying for the Olympics & only few like PV Sindhu & Sakshi Malik got a chance to stand on Podium. Gaining success in personal finance management is no easy task.

Finance Lessons from the Olympics

We can learn a few lessons from the Olympian athletes to use in personal finance management –

1) Set goals

The basis for any venture is goal setting. You need to define in concrete terms your goals for different time frames. For example, a sprinter in the 100 m race will set different goals for different time frames. Short-term goals could be related to strength training and endurance. Medium term goals could be setting a personal best and winning medals in national events. Long term goals would be getting selected for the Olympics team or running the 100 m under 9.90 in the next Olympics. Similarly, you should set short term goals, medium term goals and long term goals that can be measured. Short term goals can be related to budgeting. Medium Term goals can be related to building a home and long term goals could be comfortable retirement, children’s education etc.

Read – How to set SMART Goals

2) The earlier you start the better it is

To compete in a sporting event on an international level requires years of practice and training. For example the legendary swimmer Michael Phelps took to swimming at the age of 8 and held a world record in swimming at the age of 15 years and 9 months. Usain Bolt was already winning all the races in his school by the time he was 12. The earlier you start, the more practice you have and the more time you have to rectify mistakes. You have time to experience more and compete more. This is applicable in every sense to personal finance. Starting Early is the Secret of Wealth Creation

But do not lose heart, if you have not a comprehensive financial plan yet. Vietnam’s Hoang Xuan Vinh gave his country the first gold medal at the age of 41 years and then followed it up with another silver. So if you have not started managing your personal finances, you still have the chance to reach your financial goals if you start working on them now.

Got this message on Whatsapp..

Usain Bolt has won 9 gold medals in last 3 Olympics and he has run less than 2 mins on the track. That’s economy of effort?

Usain Bolt ran for less than 115 secs in total in his 3 Olympics career and made 119 million dollars!

That’s more than $1M for each second he ran!

That’s a new unit of speed for the “run” for money…

$ 1Million/sec

But for those 2 mins he trained  for 25+ years !

That’s investment 🙂

3) Understand & Work around Circumstances

While playing a sport, it is not enough to just do your best. You need to understand changes in rules, opponents, new training strategies, playing conditions etc. Similarly, you need to understand that Financial Life is dynamic so Financial Plan can’t be static. So what you have planned today may help you to take next step but if required you may have to change path later.

4) Get professional help

Athletes have different people around them to manage their sport. They get professional help from their coach. They take help from sports doctors and therapists to keep their physical & mental condition at the peak. They take help from nutritionists and diet experts to ensure they get the required nutrients from their diet. If personal finance overwhelms you, you can take the help of professional advice. Professional advisors will be able to give you expert, relevant and unemotional financial advise. Question is how to chose financial advisor?

If you haven’t seen this Olympics video earlier, must check – really touching….

5) It is not over till it is over – You will face hardships, downturns in personal finance. But you cannot lose heart. You have to rise above the struggles and try till you succeed. Sprinter Gail Devers suffered from a disease called Graves disease that threatened to end her career. She fought back, recovered and won gold medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Justin Gatlin (age 34) who came second in 100 mt race – has similar story of ups & downs. Many people feel it is the end of the world when they face financial crises. You should remember that financial hardships may not be as bad as life threatening circumstances and work towards reaching your goals. Read – 6 common money fears & how to conquer them

Watching the Olympic athletes is inspiring and most of us may not be able to participate in the Olympics but we can apply the lessons learnt from the sportspersons to different aspects of our life. Our financial life will certainly be fitter and we will achieve higher goals faster if we work hard on it, persevere, be disciplined and get the right support. In Olympics only top 3 performers get medals but in financial life everyone who achieves financial freedom is a winner & best part is you don’t have to compete with others to achieve your goal… Must share your view in the comment section…

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Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice & TFL Guide Blog in 2009. "The Financial Literates" is a dream & mission to make Indians Financial Literate.


  1. Personal Finance and Olympics, so nicely correlated with examples.Thanks for the great info.Rightly said,in financial life the ones who achieve financial freedom that too at a young age are the real winners.

  2. Hi, great article on investment. I am a prospective investor and was wondering, is cibil score important for investors as well because it is a dreaded word in the borrower’s community?

  3. Nice article, worth sharing. Olympics and finance, great idea to correlate the two, not going to forget this article of yours.

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