Dented but not broken hearts!
Wow, what an amazing and unexpected 24 days that was! Blazing sunshine, BBQ’s, packed pubs, beaches and parks turned into huge fan zones and a nation seemingly inspired by a new craze to throw beer!
Harry Kane’s last minute winner against Tunisia on 18 June seems months ago! Now we just have two matches to go and I’m wondering how I’ll cope without the World Cup. Russia 2018 has been the most engaging tournament I’ve watched for many years. Not just because of England’s journey (although it helps) but also VAR, the shocks for Germany, Spain and Brazil and the hosts who have put on a fantastic and well organised festival of football.
The England ‘It’s coming home’ journey reinvigorated us behind a song 22 years after its original release and for a while it really did feel as if something special or even destined was going to happen. Rather than try and sum up my own feelings post- and pre- the Croatia match, Tom Fordyce, the BBC Chief sports writer, perfectly encapsulates the ups and downs of being an England fan: 'Maybe, just maybe, this time it will be different' and 'It's the what-ifs that hurt the most'.
What is noticeably different this time around is that England is out of the tournament but the players are our heroes and there is no media witch hunt to sack the manager. The reality is that this brave young team will return stronger and savvier in future competitions... dented but not broken hearts! The one nagging question I can’t help asking myself is, will they ever get a better chance to reach a World Cup Final? Let’s hope they do.
So to answer my earlier question about how I’ll cope without the World Cup - I guess it’s back to focusing on the day job!
But it’s baby steps and I’m still sticking to a football theme, although based around the topic of retirement…
During the aftermath of Argentina’s loss to France in the Round of 16, Javier Mascherano, a long-standing national team member and Barcelona player, decided to retire from international football. This got two of my colleagues, Harri Mead and John Bissett questioning:
Football is great while it lasts, but what happens when retirement beckons?
Football players normally sign their first professional contract at 17 years old. For most footballers, the average length of their career is only 8 years and the average retirement age for a player is 35 years old.¹
If we consider players in the UK, according to the Sportingintelligence's Global Sports Salaries Survey, Premier League footballers typically earn £50,000 per week.² Football at all levels remains extremely lucrative, but even these extravagant levels of wealth are likely to dissolve during the many remaining decades of a retired footballer’s lifetime. For some players, this financial pressure can be too much. According to XPro, a charity for ex-professional footballers, three out of every five players declare bankruptcy after retirement.³
Fortunes can vary wildly, even for those who plan for the future. Ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler amassed a rental property empire of over 80 houses and is worth an estimated £28 million.⁴ In contrast, former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie who during the peak of his career earned £30,000 a week, was declared bankrupt in 2012, after his £10 million property portfolio collapsed.⁵
It’s crucial young footballers value money, and it’s equally important for them to start planning their financial futures in and beyond football. This is a concept which we can all relate to, even if we aren’t lucky enough to be bringing home £35,000 per week!
From those who are living paycheque to paycheque, right up to individuals who are worrying about overshooting tax allowances, everyone dreams of a comfortable retirement. Although one person may be satisfied spending their golden years in the peaceful English countryside, and another dreams of sailing a multi-million pound yacht around the world (or even retiring to one of the World Cup competing nations), they both need to remember one key point: planning ahead is the key.
It may be a cliché, but the sooner an individual starts to save for the future, the more they are likely to have to spend when they get there. You could even go so far as to claim that attitude towards saving is equally as important as assets, which you can read more about in our debate blog. We can take all of the unfortunate aforementioned players as examples. These athletes earned a sizeable amount during their careers, no doubt enjoying a fairly extravagant lifestyle compared to most of the population, but now may be wondering what the future holds for them financially.
Now, let’s imagine an ordinary worker – the ever popular Joe Bloggs. Joe hasn’t been fortunate enough to bring home a few million pounds each year, nor has he been able to afford to live in a football star sized mansion. He has, however, been consistently saving into a retirement plan for years and maintained focus on saving enough to achieve his ideal lifestyle when he’s ready to give up work (sounds like he may have benefited from hearing about our 5-Step Model for changing savings behaviour!). This steady approach to saving is likely to pay off for Joe, and some of our football stars could learn a lot from his forward thinking.
Whilst we may not all be able to represent our home team on the pitch (I’m still waiting for my Newcastle United call-up…), we do all have a decent shot at creating our dream retirement if we prepare for it. So, let’s be more like Joe, and get planning… !
Harri Mead and John Bissett