Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medal winner and one of the world’s wealthiest athletes says the biggest lesson he learned about money is to save more than half of what he earned. According to Forbes Magazine list of the world’s 100 richest athletes, Bolt ranks at Number 45, earning $31 million when he retired from competition officially in 2017.
Bolt, 34, admitted that at age 18, early in his career when he started to make money, he got into spending more than was prudent. At the time of his first Olympic appearance in 2004, Bolt told CNBC Make It that he “spent a little more than I wanted to.” He was lucky enough at the time to have finances explained to him by his teammates, who he credits with teaching him how to save. If you save more than half of what you earn, Bolt says, “Then you can spend the rest and pay bills… I tell people if you make $10, save $6, and then you can figure out what to do with the rest.”
Although Bolt has retired, some of his sponsorships continue. For example, he has a lifetime partnership with the sports brand Puma and has recently signed on to be a spokesperson for CarMax. Bolt is also the co-founder of Bolt Mobility, an electric scooter firm, and a real estate investor.
He still emphasizes the advice he would give to his younger self to save as much money as possible. He notes that he has seen many athletes who get injured face financial difficulties when they can no longer compete. “There are a lot of athletes out there who got injured,” Bolt says, “And that’s something that I learned and I saw with my own eyes.”
In terms of career advice, Bolt said that his father gave him the best advice he ever received. His father told him, “Son, anything you want, just work hard and be dedicated and you will be fine.” Bolt said he has always lived by that.
Usain Bolt, who still holds the title of the world’s fastest man, maintains his position as the official world record holder in both the men’s 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, records he achieved at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. He ran the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and the 200 in 19.19 seconds. Bolt was also a member of the 4×100-meter relay team that broke the world record at the Summer Olympics in London in 2012. Bolt was required to return the Olympic gold medal he received for the 4×100-meter relay in 2017 when one of the Jamaican relay team members failed a drug test.