David Beckham is comfortably one of England’s most famous and well-loved footballers. Having started his journey at Manchester United under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, Beckham went on to have a glittering career, including spells at Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Throughout a 21-year career, Beckham collected an impressive haul of trophies, including:
- Six Premier League titles
- Two FA Cups
- Two MLS Cups
- One UEFA Champions League
- One La Liga title
- One Ligue 1 title
He also made 115 appearances for England, making him the third-most-capped player of all time, and captained his national side between 2000 and 2006.
Beckham has also been incredibly successful off the pitch, too, with various business ventures and achievements. According to the Times, he and wife Victoria have a combined net worth of £425 million as of 2023.
Thanks to his enormous on- and off-field success, the former England captain was recently immortalised in a Netflix documentary released in October, titled Beckham.
The four-part mini-series charts Beckham’s story right from the very start. Using archive footage from throughout his career, it takes an honest look back at some of the moments that defined Beckham as one of the greatest players of his generation – including amazing highs, like the famous 1999 treble with United, and devastating lows, such as that infamous red card against Argentina.
The story of Beckham’s immense success contains many lessons about professional football and money management that could help you manage your wealth throughout your playing career and beyond.
So, read on to discover three financial lessons you can learn from the story of a football legend.
1. Set money aside for your future from the start of your career
In the first episode of the Netflix show, Beckham’s former teammates discuss his approach to his wealth at the start of his career.
“David used to get his salary on a Friday, used to spend it on a Saturday, all,” says former United teammate and head coach of Portland Timbers, Phil Neville.
“And then spend the next five days waiting for his next salary, to get the jeans to match, that was him. Have money, spend it, have money, spend it, have money, spend it.”
Beckham’s approach may sound familiar to you. When you first sign a professional contract, it can be tempting to spend it on expensive goods, such as clothes and cars.
Indeed, Roy Keane recalls how Beckham was one of the first to spend his money on vehicles. “He certainly upped everyone’s game in the car park!” the former United centre-back joked.
The lesson to learn from this behaviour is to balance your spending and saving, setting money aside for the future right from the start of your career. While Beckham has obviously been hugely successful, he could not have known that his career would last so long, or that he would ultimately generate the wealth he did.
This is exactly the approach that Phil Neville followed. “Me and Gary [Neville] were like, ‘Let’s save it for a rainy day’,” he said. “We used to put money into a pension – David was like, ‘What are you doing?!’”
Pensions may not be that attractive for you, as the tax-efficient benefits are often lesser for high earners. But regardless, finding the right savings and investments to help you build your wealth for life after football is crucial.
This is not to say that you should not enjoy some of your wealth now. The key is to reward yourself now, and also for the future. Whenever you sign a new contract or receive a performance bonus, consider putting some of that money aside for another day first, and then spending the rest on what you like.
You never know what will happen in the future. So, while you have money coming in, think about saving a portion of it for a rainy day, just as Phil Neville did.
2. Be meticulous in how you approach your wealth
There is no doubt that Beckham is a meticulous and thoughtful person. Whether it is in the hours he put in perfecting his crossing and free-kick abilities, or the time he spends cleaning up his home every evening after dinner, the former England captain is conscientious and precise.
Being a perfectionist has certainly paid off for Beckham in the long term. So, for you, the lesson to learn is to take this meticulous approach to your money.
Carefully consider all aspects of your wealth, and check that they are in optimum form. Areas you may want to look at could include:
- Your future savings, and whether you are setting enough aside now to continue living your lifestyle after football.
- How tax-efficient your wealth is, and whether you could pay less tax using ISAs or tax-efficient investments.
- Whether you are sufficiently protected should you sustain a career-ending injury or be diagnosed with a serious illness.
There are even more aspects you may want to think about. Take a leaf from Beckham’s book and approach these with the same meticulous, thorough mindset as he has all of his endeavours.
3. Think about life after football during your playing days
Although football is where he initially made his name and what he is probably best known for, Beckham’s global fame has also been achieved through various other exploits.
He became a fashion icon thanks to commercial partnerships with numerous brands, as well as launching a fragrance line alongside wife Victoria. He is also famously the president and co-owner of MLS franchise Inter Miami in the US.
These successes have all contributed to the empire Beckham has built, and was no doubt helped by the fact that he had an awareness of life after football throughout his playing days.
You have read in the points above about the importance of preparing financially for later life during your career. In addition to this, it is worth thinking about what you would like to do when you hang up your boots.
Most players transition into a second career, with the Athletic finding in a survey of ex-players that nearly 93% of those interviewed had found a career after football.
This could be within football, perhaps in coaching or media. Meanwhile, others manage to carve out careers in entirely new professions, and some pursue their other passions – you may have seen that former Wycombe Wanderers and QPR manager Gareth Ainsworth is looking to further his music career, the BBC reports.
No matter what you end up doing, it is key to keep an eye on the future during your career. Consider getting your badges if you want to move into coaching and management, or look at other qualifications and skills you might need to move into a different career entirely.
Having done this throughout his career, Beckham is now a champion in many more worlds than just football. Take this same mindset into your post-career planning.
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If you would like help organising your money as a professional footballer, please get in touch with us at ProSport.
Email email@example.com or call 01204 602909 to find out what we can do for you.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax planning.