How tennis star Andy Murray builds wealth

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Andy Murray is careful with his money. He favours property as an asset class and says he finds shares too volatile. He also has business Andy interests.

UPDATE. All eyes are on Andy Murray, the tennis sensation from the tiny Scottish city of  Dunblane (they call it a city because it has a Cathedral, but it is the size of a village), because he is on a winning streak. This week he won the Valencia Open. Last month he beat Spaniard Tommy Robredo in Shenzhen, China. Next he is off to the Paris Masters. He’s obviously earning big money on the court, with more to come from sponsors. So what does Murray do with his finances? Here are some insights on how he puts his hard-earned cash to work. – JC

By Jackie Cameron

What does Andy Murray invest in? Property, property and more property. He is also a business entrepreneur who is exploring crowdfunding opportunities in the technology sector.

Scotland’s 27-year-old tennis great this week revealed some of his financial secrets to The Sunday Times. He is as strategic with his personal finances as he is on court, it seems.

First of all, let’s take a look at what he earns. He told the UK newspaper that last year his income was about £8m (roughly R145m).

Don’t think that’s easy money. He has trained intensively for much of his life and has worked hard on the international tennis circuit.

The UK’s tennis hero has also been working on his personal branding. He has noticeably transformed from a shy – and at times dour – sporting celebrity into a more confident figure who can laugh at himself publicly. This week he even agreed to being interviewed by a toy dog on television, boosting his appeal.

All this attention to Andy Murray “the brand” has been paying off. Last year’s victory at Wimbledon added £1,6m to his annual pay package, but his “most lucrative work” is linked to sponsorship deals. He has a multi-million pound contract with Standard Life and appears in advertisements for Adidas, Head and Swiss watch-maker Rado.

Murray says he is “eternally grateful” to his parents for making sacrifices to give him the opportunity to play tennis. He left home at 15 to join the Sanchez-Casal Academy, which has high fees. “I’m not sure how we were able to afford it as a family,” Murray said.

Watching his hard-working parents has made him careful with his income. He said the most important lesson he has learnt about money is “not to take it for granted – so to respect it”.

Keenly aware that a professional sports player usually has a short career, his financial priority, he says, is to “plan for life after tennis”. He wants to look after his family and friends and play a role offering advice to stars of the future.

Andy Murray: his best investmentsimages-47

Much of his money has gone into property. He bought a £5m (R90m) five-bedroom home in Oxshott, England, in 2009.

Murray said he owns “a couple of apartments in Miami, which I and my coaching team use when I train over there”. These don’t sound like luxury pads. He says: “The overall cost of them was in the hundreds of thousands rather than the millions.”

He has also bought a luxury hotel in Scotland, called Cromlix – which is just outside his home town of Dunblane. He hinted that, at £2m, it was a bargain.

Asked about whether he thinks property or a pension is better for retirement, he revealed that his investment interest lies in real estate. “You need both, but I do love property – it’s simpler to understand.”

Property has been his best investment. “I’ve been fortunate that my properties, here and in the US, have been bought at the right time and have significantly increased in value.”

Murray said that he is a saver, rather than a spender, and tries to invest as much as possible. “I’ve always been interested in property and it is something I’ll continue being involved with after tennis.”

He said he has tended to stay away from shares because he worries about the volatility. Murray also has a sports management company, called 77, which focuses on helping promising young tennis players.

Worst investment: a Ferrari

Andy Murray
Ferrari F430 – only for drivers who want to be stared at a lot.

Murray admitted to some financial mistakes, in his interview. He said a Ferrari F430 bought for £135 000 in 2009 was a big error. He sold it six months after driving it away from the showroom.

“Though I loved driving it, I hated getting in and out as people would stare. It had depreciated quite a bit when I sold,” he said.

He said he spends lots of money on holidays, describing it as a weakness. However, his travel arrangements – mostly by private jet – sound like the most extravagant area of his spending.

In a nutshell, Murray sounds like a very sensible chap when it comes to managing his money. He uses a credit card, but always pays off his balance in full. That means he never pays the bank interest.

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