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Becoming Wealthy Is Like Becoming An Olympic Athlete

By Erik Folgate

The Winter Olympics started last Friday, and I am not too intrigued by most of the sports included in the Winter Olympics, but I do love the women’s figure skating, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and the bobsled competitions. As I was watching the Olympics the other night, I gained more appreciation for the athletes the more that I thought about the training it took for them to reach this poing of being one of the best in the world in their respective sport. Then, I started thinking about how all of the principles of an Olympic athlete correlate to the financial principles that help people build wealth. Passion, Perseverance, and Discipline are three attributes of an Olympic athlete that we must all possess if we want to win with money.


Your income is the most important tool for building wealth over a long period of time, and studies show that people that are more passionate about their work are more likely to gain promotions or start their own business and gradually increase their income as they get older. When you’re passionate about your work, it gives you more motivation to get up in the morning and be the best that you can. Olympic athletes must be passionate at the sport they train for, or else they wouldn’t have any motivation to get up early in the morning and spend an entire day training and practicing like it’s a full-time job.


When you want to be the best at a particular sport, you will always face adversity. There will be obstacles, you will get hurt, sponsors will drop out, and your pursuit of being the best will seem bleak at times. When you decide to make changes in your life to turn around your financial future such as getting out of debt, contributing to a retirement account, and paying cash for large purchases, it’s easy for bad things to happen during that time. Emergency trips to the hospital or giving money to a family member to help them out, come at times when we least expect it, and we must have perseverance to build wealth over a long period of time.


If you can master discipline, you can be successful at anything. Olympic athletes are some of the most disciplined people in the world. They must follow a strict training schedule, they must sacrifice a social life, and they must work through pain, because they know that the chance to represent their country and win a gold medal is an experience of a lifetime. If you want to win with money, and if you want to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, you must have discipline. You must have the discipline to avoid impulsive purchases at the mall, eat out 5 nights a week, and throw away credit card offers when you get them. You must have the discipline to pay yourself each month by saving money on a consistent basis. You must have the discipline to write out a budget and spend your money on paper before it’s spent.

Can you do it? Can you act like an Olympic athlete in order to win with money? You will take control of your money and your life is you find work that you’re passionate about and train yourself to persevere and be disciplined on a consistent basis.

(photo credit: pan pacific whistler)

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://www.jeremycwalter.wordpress.com Jeremy Walter

    I like the post – I’d also add Vision to the list, as each Olympian and any successful professional articulated a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish, and held that vision in front of them the entire time training.

    I’m a recent subscriber to the blog – and love reading it.

    • Erik Folgate

      Thanks for reading Jeremy. I agree, Vision is a good one. This wasn’t a comprehensive list, but more so the first three characteristics that came to my mind. Great input, let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like us to write about.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Never thought of it this way. Great article! If I trained as hard as the olympic athletes at finance, I’d be doing pretty good for myself. Too bad I’m missing a bit of the perserverence. But I do agree that in order for someone to excel in business they need to have certain qualities, much like an olympian needs to have certain qualities to do well in their own competitions.

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