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‘My Dad Always Said, ‘Athletes Lose Their Money’: Serena Williams on the Financial Advice That Stuck with Her Throughout Her Life

Tennis legend Serena Williams gave some insight on the financial advice she got from her dad, Richard Williams, that she says has stuck with her throughout her whole life. The conversation took place during a “Chase Chats” webcast with former NBA player and longtime ESPN analyst Jay Williams.

“My dad always said, ‘athletes lose their money,’” the tennis star said. “He always talked about the importance of not losing it once you get it and not just buying everything you see. That has stuck with me for my whole life.”  

Serena Williams talks about some of the financial advice she received from her father, Richard Williams, that has stuck with her her entire life. (Photo: Serena Williams’s Instagram account.)

However, even with her father’s valuable advice, Williams said there were still some lessons she wished she had learned earlier on. “Honestly, I wish I had learned more about banking and how it works — what happens in a savings account versus what happens in a checking account versus what happens when you put your money investing with the bank,” she explained.

The athlete added, “I didn’t learn that until way later, and I really wish I would have learned that sooner so that I could have made my money work for me in different ways sooner and probably better.”

The 23-time Grand Slam winner also revealed that she has already begun passing down that same financial advice to her daughter Alexis Olympia. The young toddler will be 3 in September. “When it comes to finances, I told her the other day, ‘if you break that, you have to pay for it,” Williams said of Olympia, whom she shares with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. She added, “I’m already trying to tell her a little bit about the financial responsibilities. Not too much, though.” Check out a clip from the discussion below.

In the past, Williams has taken what she learned to help others. Last year, the athlete partnered with Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse to put the spotlight on the issue of financial abuse for the third year in a row. Purple Purse is an organization that works to empower women to break the cycle of domestic abuse financially. According to their statistics, 99 percent of domestic abuse cases involve financial abuse.

Williams, an ambassador for Purple Purse, appeared in a PSA to help women spot the signs and red flags of financial abuse. “They deny you access to your bank accounts … they forbid you from working,” Williams said at the time, adding that “financial abuse is one of the main reasons victims of domestic violence can’t leave.”

In Aug. 2019, when her PSA debuted, Williams told People how her friend’s domestic abuse inspired her to help others get out of their financial troubles. “I have a really, really close friend of mine who was involved in a domestic abuse situation, and it was really difficult because she couldn’t see the signs. … We all tried to tell her, we all tried to help her, but she just had to come to it on her own and see it on her own,” she revealed. “We had to let her know we were there, and partners and people that are doing this want to make you feel so alone and that no one loves you and no one cares about you.”


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