Professional triathlon racer Ben Hoffman developed amazing training habits to help him perform at his highest level. He also developed strong financial habits to help him prepare for retirement. Here are his thoughts.
I am passionate about athletic performance, but also passionate about the business side of being a professional athlete. Racing and earning a living from sport is an absolute privilege and one I never take for granted. But I don't just want to live an 'athlete lifestyle', I want to thrive at all things in life which means I need to be smart with my earnings, investments, and managing my career now and in the future. I am so thrilled about my partnership with Transamerica because they are helping me prepare for tomorrow. Here are my thoughts on managing money.
Looking back on my childhood, the foundations of my financial future were being laid even as I lived the halcyon existence of youth, marked by riding bikes, building forts, and pushing to stay outside as long as I could while my mom called us in for dinner.
Of course at those young ages, it was largely subconscious, but the lessons and values I absorbed set me on a path and still resonate loudly, guiding my decisions today.
I believe the source of these strategies and standards must be credited to my parents. How much we are nature and how much nurture can be deliberated ad nauseam, but I strongly believe my mom and dad are some of the biggest influencers in my life. Even to this day, I will consult with my parents about big decisions, especially financial matters.
These are some of the most important cornerstones to my money managing strategy:
- I surround myself with high achievers who are experts in their field. For most of us, our job is not to study derivatives, stock markets, and economics, so I find someone who does and enlist some help. It's OK to be humble and allow help from others. My dad was a building contractor, skilled in home construction, but that didn't mean he did the electrical or plumbing on every house. Do your homework, but listen to the appropriate financial guidance too.
- I’m mindful of my debt load. One lesson my parents consistently reinforced to me was to limit my debt to "good debt," like a home mortgage with a reasonable rate, and to avoid having multiple payments that included lots of interest. This goes hand in hand with not spending what you don't have. Being heavily leveraged means you are wide open to financial ruin if and when major economic changes happen, and it adds a major level of stress which I'd rather live without.
- I save no matter what. Even if it's only a very small amount, I commit myself to saving every month. The more you put away earlier in your life, the longer it has to multiply, and compound growth is your best friend in investing. Be patient and consistent with your contributions.
- I aim for diversification, both within my market portfolio and outside it. My parents own a small business, have a couple of rental properties, and a diversified investment portfolio, so even if one area takes a hit, another can carry them through. I am still fairly young, but I have goals to diversify with rental properties and continually rebalance my portfolio to optimize my returns.
- Enjoy the process. Although the general objective is to make money, there is a balance between the value of money and the value of your happiness. They can be symbiotic, but pushing too hard on either end of the spectrum can be dangerous and unfulfilling. Each person has different goals, outline yours clearly, and then try to see the process as an enjoyable one, full of learning along the way.
I feel very fortunate to have great parents and role models around me, and know there are many people in less ideal circumstances, but it's never too late to save and take control of your financial future.
About the author:
Known for his deeply disciplined training, Ben Hoffman’s journey through the professional triathlon ranks has shown steady success, highlighted by Ironman victories in majors like South Africa (2016, 2017), Coeur D’Alene (2013), Wisconsin (2012), St. George (2012) and Lake Placid (2010), plus numerous Ironman 70.3 victories, a plethora of podium placings and a Collegiate National Championship title. Yet it was his 2014 Ironman World Championship (Hawaii) performance, wherein he swam 51:20, biked 4:32:20 and ran 2:51:25, working his way forward with fleet feet and steadfast determination from fifth position off the bike to finish second overall in a time of 8:19:23 that marked a major milestone for this standout talent. As the top American finisher at the Ironman World Championship at 31 and again at 33 years old, Hoffman is now poised as the USA’s next great hope for the coveted Ironman Hawaii Kona crown (2017). Hoffman lives primarily in Boulder, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona. He has been a professional triathlete since 2007. To follow Ben's career visit his Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account.
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