5 Personal Finance Lessons can you learn from the Olympics?

On the eve of the Winter Olympics I think it’s good to take a moment and look at what they can teach us.  The best of the best in the world will be competing in Sochi, Russia in a couple days and the stories that are going to be told will be both inspiring and at times heart breaking. We can definitely learn from them and these lessons can apply to aspects of our lives especially when it comes to our finances.

Athletes spend years practicing, training and competing; they experience huge successes and suffer gut-wrenching setbacks along the way. Failing and picking up the pieces; the perseverance and passion is just amazing. When the Olympics are on TV stop for a moment and just watch the sheer determination that each and every athlete has. The Olympic Athletes and competition can show us 5 personal finance lessons that are worth looking at:

  • Perseverance
  • Determination
  • The power of coaching and getting help
  • Always aim for the your best
  • Learn from your mistakes


There are times when you won’t succeed, something inevitably causes you to fail. When this happens, each one of the athletes in the games, picks up the pieces and continues on despite the failure. A single failure doesn’t stop these athletes*, they persevere regardless of what happens. All the setbacks and stumbles on the way are just part of the journey.

When it comes to personal finance, as you’re learning and assessing your own situation you’ll make mistakes and you’ll have to adjust and keep going. There will be things that come up are simply beyond your control, but you can’t let them stop you. The perseverance comes in that you pick up the pieces and keep going, learn from the mistakes and setbacks and do better. With perseverance you will achieve your goals.


The fight not to give up; the mental fortitude to just keep at it and to keep pushing. You need the determination to try new things, seeing what works and what doesn’t. The athletes at the Olympics have a single minded determination with their sports. They know what they are aiming for and they just keep at it.

This is exactly what needs to be done with your finances, you know what your goals are and you have to be single minded about your approach to them. Yes, you will have setbacks but you can pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. If you fail once, see what you did wrong and move forward.

The power of coaching and getting help

Every athlete has a slew of coaches and trainers with them at every step of their competitive careers. They provide the athletes with feedback, motivation, experience and most importantly coaching. They drive the athletes to do better than they could possibly do by themselves. The coaches and trainers are extremely important, the athletes know this and truly rely on them.

Most of us try to go it alone, fumbling and struggling along the way.  You might succeed in the end but the journey is hard with many potential pitfalls. If you do succeed it will take you longer than it would otherwise. When you bring in others to help you, you can rely on their expertise and experience to help you achieve what you want. When it comes to your finances, you can use experts like financial advisors who know what they’re doing and have experience with situations like yours or bankers who can help you with arranging financing (just to name a couple). Finding the right experts or coaches and trainers for your finances can easily add to your financial successes.

Learn from your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes but it’s what you do with them is that matters; you can learn from them and gain valuable experience or you can let them haunt you and bring you down. Every athlete analyzes their performance and looks for the mistakes they made. They look at how they can fix the mistakes for their next performance. For them the mistakes can be the tiniest wobble of their feet; but they still look at this as an opportunity to learn.

This really isn’t any different in everyday life; except maybe the mistakes aren’t as small as the athletes. You can take a look at what happened, see what you did, and more importantly how you can make adjustments to correct the problems. If you set a budget but it didn’t work out, instead of getting upset look at what happened and what you can do for next month’s budget.

Aim for the best

When athletes are competing they are aiming for the best, they’re trying to win, and they aren’t there just to put in a performance. They do this every time they’re in a competition and often when they’re just practicing. They do everything they can to win.

You can use this approach in everything you do, you can aim for the best every day. You won’t be first or at your best every day but you can aim for the best each time. From a personal finance point of view this approach of aiming for the best can easily be translated into action. You do everything you can to get to your goals. Even if it’s as simple as staying on budget or stretching yourself to save a little more than last month.

Inspiration for what we do every day doesn’t have to be an internal item only, you can derive inspiration from all sorts of sources. The athletes competing over the next few weeks are a spectacular source, they are driven, they compete and do the best they can possibly do every time they go out. But they also fail, they struggle and have setbacks but they pick up the pieces, learn from their mistakes and persevere. Every one struggles at times but it’s a matter of what we do when have them that determines what we can achieve. We can learn from what we see and do every day.

*Before anyone gets technical on me yes there are times a single injury can end an athletes career, I’m just illustrating a point.

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