What is “financial shame”, why does it matter for footballers, and how can you prevent it?

What is “financial shame”, why does it matter for footballers, and how can you prevent it?

There are many financial pressures and issues you might face as a professional footballer. From your relatively short career compared to other professions all the way to how your contract is negotiated, there are specific challenges posed to your wealth throughout your career.

However, among the many extra considerations you have, one concept that’s well worth keeping an eye on is “financial shame”.

This rather dangerous phenomenon could lead you to undue stress over your money, perhaps even causing sleepless nights that affect your ability to play your best football.

So, read on to discover what financial shame is, why it especially matters to professional footballers, and how you can prevent it from affecting you.

A sense of worthlessness caused by the way you manage your wealth

Financial shame is an often invisible feeling involving a sense of worthlessness that’s caused by the way you manage your money.

There are many things that might cause you to feel financial shame. It could be the way you manage your borrowing, or as a result of spending more than you can afford.

Interestingly, financial shame is similar to but very much separate from “financial guilt”. You might feel financial guilt after having made a single bad decision with your wealth, such as borrowing too much or buying a luxury item that cost more than you could afford.

In this instance, the feelings of guilt are attached to a single behaviour or decision. For example, you might overspend one month, leading you to feel guilty about the way you managed your money on this occasion.

Meanwhile, financial shame is a more insidious issue, involving feeling negatively towards yourself as a result of how you manage your money. Instead of feeling guilty as you’ve overspent, you instead feel ashamed of yourself as a person, thinking that it’s a personal fault of yours to have poorly mishandled your wealth.

This can be more persistent than guilt, damaging your sense of self-worth as you start to believe that you are the problem, rather than the independent financial decisions you’re making.

Falling into a vicious cycle of financial shame

One of the biggest dangers financial shame can present is that it can lead you to start avoiding issues you’re having with your wealth, rather than facing them head on.

This phenomenon, known as “financial avoidance”, essentially involves burying your head in the sand and not dealing with the core issues or the consequences of your decisions.

Of course, the danger with this is that it could cause you to fall into a vicious spiral of financial shame – that is, you feel ashamed of the way you manage your wealth, so you avoid the issue. In turn, you feel more ashamed, and so on.

Footballers are potentially even more prone to financial shame

As a result of what you do for a living, it’s possible that you’re even more likely to experience feelings of financial shame as a professional footballer. That’s because there are specific pressures you face that could act as the catalyst for this detrimental state of mind.

For example, if you’ve just signed your first pro contract and you’re mixing with older players, you might start seeing them living a more affluent lifestyle than yours as they’ve had the chance to earn more money throughout their careers.

This could lead you to make decisions in an attempt to keep up with them that negatively affect your wealth, such as buying expensive clothes, cars, or even property, when you can’t yet realistically afford to do so.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the middle or approaching the end of your career, your circumstances might have changed from sharing the same lifestyle as your teammates and friends to providing for your family or saving for later life.

However, you might find yourself caught between the two, trying to afford both when you know that you actually can’t.

In both of these cases, you can see how easy it would be to fall into the financial shame trap, thinking that you’re bad at managing your money and feeling negatively towards yourself as a result.

There’s plenty you can do to keep financial shame at bay

Fortunately, there are plenty of methods at your disposal that you can use to ensure financial shame doesn’t affect you, allowing you to stay focused on your playing career.

Below are just a few ways you may be able to do this.

Acknowledge feelings of financial shame

Firstly, if you’re experiencing financial shame, you may want to start by acknowledging these feelings in an effort to tackle them. Rather than allowing them to fester, accepting that you feel ashamed of your financial management could be a useful starting point.

In doing so, you may be better able to put things into perspective, helping you to make more informed, sensible decisions with your wealth.

At the very least, it may help prevent you from falling prey to financial avoidance and making the situation worse.

Sensible budgeting

Financial shame isn’t always connected to how much money you have, but how you manage it.

Indeed, whether you’ve just signed your first pro contract or you’ve moved to a new club and seen a fairly significant increase in your wages, you could still find yourself feeling ashamed of the way you deal with your wealth.

That’s why, wherever you are in your career, sensible budgeting is the cornerstone of successful financial planning.

Work out exactly how much you have in your pocket each month and what you end up spending it on, including everything from your essential bills to your desired lifestyle.

You’ll then be able to identify what you can really afford and whether you need to cut back. With this information, you can be confident that you’re properly managing your money, ideally completely removing those feelings of financial shame.

Working with a financial planner

Perhaps the most useful choice you can make is working with a financial planner, a dedicated expert whose goal is to help you manage your money.

A planner can help you carefully organise your wealth so that you’re able to achieve what you want with your money. They can help you strike the balance between saving for the future and living for the now, no matter what that looks like for you.

At ProSport, we’re a team of experienced financial planners who work with and understand the specific challenges facing professional footballers.

We know the dangers that you’ll face throughout your career, and can help you navigate every scenario with careful planning, leaving you to focus on the job you do on the pitch.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out how we can help you manage your money at ProSport, email enquiries@prosportwealth.co.uk or call 01204 602909 today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.