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Most College Athletes Have a Money Mindset. They Just Haven't Harnessed it Yet

“Potential.”

In sports, it’s what makes or breaks coaching careers. It’s the path to promise and disappointment. If an athlete doesn’t develop, everyone loses. So we coach them up, spend hours and resources doing our best to help them grow and expect they’ll commit with the same energy and purpose.

It can and should work the same with money. As a former Division 1 athlete-turned-financial professional, I’ve learned there are many similarities between the way young athletes approach their sport and the way they should approach their finances. Athletes understand that success means committing to the grind and embracing coaching. They know that the earlier they start, the more of a chance they have to get ahead and turn potential into prowess. As a result, they’re more prepared than most to become financially empowered. Unfortunately, they often don't get the same level of guidance and support for their financial future as they do their athletic careers.

At Scout, our job is to coach college athletes and help them realize their financial potential. Here are a few examples of how athletes can translate what they’ve learned through sports into growing their bank accounts.

1. Eyes on the Prize:

Whether it’s becoming a starter, achieving a personal record, or helping a team win a championship, goals drive us forward and keep us focused. The same applies to finances. Set clear financial goals and create a plan to achieve them. Avoid distractions and temptations that could derail your progress, such as impulse purchases, risky investments, or overspending.

2. Understand the "Game of Inches":

In sports, games are won or lost based on small swings in the action, or a yard here or there. Add those inches up over the course of a season and it can be the difference between last place and a championship. The same is true when it comes to saving and investing. Don't expect to get rich overnight. Instead, focus on making small, consistent deposits and finding smart investments that will grow over time into significant wealth.

3. Bet on Yourself:

Athletes are used to working hard and making sacrifices for their sport. The same applies to investing. Sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. Put away a portion of your income each month to support future financial goals.

4. Bring the Fam:

Warren Buffett said “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” The same motivation you feel to make your family proud on the field should translate to your finances. Make smart financial decisions now and your family and future generations will benefit. It ain’t fun if you can’t bring the fam.

5. When Opportunity Knocks:

Making it as an athlete isn’t easy. When you get your chance, you’ve got to be ready – and you’d better make the most of it. If you do, your trajectory can change forever. When it comes to finances, a smart financial decision early or doing the right thing with a single check will pay off long-term in ways you might never expect.

Don't rely solely on your potential for future financial success. Instead, use the money mindset you’ve developed as an athlete to take action now and build your financial future. At Scout, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

About Scout

Scout is a financial coaching platform that provides student-athletes with the knowledge and tools to facilitate personal financial success — from investing and saving to budgeting and tax-planning. We work with individual athletes, college teams and athletic programs to empower and protect students in the changing NIL landscape. Black-led, with a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Scout is intentional about welcoming, educating, and guiding those from under resourced and marginalized communities.

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