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Olympic money management

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

As you watch Olympic athletes on television tonight, consider that they are not only athletic stars, but also most of them are champion money managers.

In honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics, which kicked off in London last night, TD Ameritrade released the results of its survey of current and former Olympic athletes about their attitudes toward money management.

Only 10 percent of those surveyed were competing this year, but overall 40 percent had won at least one Olympic medal. Just about 50 percent of the respondents were age 51 or older.

Some 77 percent of these Olympic athletes consider themselves financially secure and 68 percent of them say they are saving for the future. Of those savers, an amazing 99 percent said they were either somewhat or very confident that they would reach their financial goals.

The survey didn't discuss retirement or retirement planning specifically, but it did ask Olympians about their investments.

  • 71 percent had individual retirement accounts.
  • 68 percent invested in mutual funds.
  • 66 percent invested in stocks.
  • 46 percent had managed accounts.
  • 43 percent invested in bonds.
  • 23 percent had 529 educational savings plans.
  • 17 percent invested in exchange-traded funds.

What separates these Olympic athletes from too many of the rest of us, says Carrie Braxdale, managing director with TD Ameritrade, is their "discipline and willingness to sacrifice."

When asked: “If you were to win the lottery or receive a major inheritance this year, what is the first thing you would do with the money?” the Olympians gave championship answers:

  • 42 percent would invest or save this money for the future.
  • 32 percent would use it to pay back loans from parents, family, friends and institutions or credit cards.
  • 18 percent would donate to a charity or help out a family in need.
  • Only 3 percent would spend the money on an indulgence.

Wow, that's discipline -- and financial fitness.

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