Retiring Early: Career Spans of Professional Athletes and More

Estimated read time 3 min read

When you think of a professional athlete, you might imagine a young man or woman in his or her twenties or early thirties. Careers of certain pro athletes, like basketball player Michael Jordan, can lead the public to believe that all athletes can work into their forties. He’s the exception – not the rule. It’s typical of athletic careers, or those that require you to look a certain way, like modeling, to fizzle out pretty quickly. Here are three groups of people whose careers have a very short shelf life:

1. Athletes

Professional athletes usually have a short but lucrative career of fewer than 10 years. Due to the fact that many athletes can make a lot of money in such a short amount of time, financial planning for professional athletes is a must as they navigate their post-retirement life. Getting help managing money is always a smart option for athletes, especially if they have young children, are planning on going back to school to earn an advanced degree (or saving for their children’s college tuition), or if they are planning on purchasing real estate property.

2. Dancers

Dancers – especially professional ballet dancers – are under immense pressure to perform perfectly while not gaining weight or getting injured. Many can work well into their forties, but most find their career waning in their late thirties. Unfortunately for experienced dancers, a sudden injury or subtle joint pain can spiral into a much bigger problem. Some dancers transition choose to transition into another slower-paced career before they suffer injury, but many more will choose to dance until they can no longer safely do so.

3. Models

Models, on the whole, are required to look young and maintain strict control over their appearance. This career does not bode well for anyone over the age of thirty, women who decide to have children and anyone who ages prematurely. Models, like athletes and dancers, need to think far into the future when it comes to their post-retirement career choices.

Many professional models have successfully transitioned into the world of fashion design or acting. Dancers could find fulfilling work in casting, choreography, or even opening their own dance studios. Athletes could transition to coaching or pursue an entirely new career. While the end of one career is often a bittersweet time, planning is essential for a smooth transition into retirement. And don’t forget: ending one line of work opens the door to new opportunities.


The writer of this article currently manages his own blog moment for life and spread happiness and is managing to do well by mixing online marketing and traditional marketing practices into one.

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