This is the English version of my publication about what it takes to live/survive as a sportsman and as an ordinary person (in France). I hope I have not made too many English mistakes and that my point is still understandable. Unfortunately I could not transcribe all the humor in English due to cultural reasons or simply language misunderstanding. Prices are in euros.
Among the most redundant themes, there is one that grabs attention and attracts fantasies that are very symptomatic of our 90° washed brains in societies of capital accumulation and infinite growth. I mean money. This topic seems to me to be particularly sensitive and taboo, at least in France, and especially in the sports community, which is all the more reason for me to approach it with a personal angle and in a holistic view. If you do not practice any sport, you can continue reading because the article is part of a thought and a sociological, economic and ecological will.
« Money represents only a new form of impersonal slavery in place of the old personal slavery. » – Leon Tolstoy
When you think about a top athlete or professional athlete, the first thing that often comes to mind is someone who earns a lot of money. This observation is even more valid in people who are stranger to a sports environment. Sometimes the first question people ask me is: « Can we make a living from sport? ». Few « high-performance » sportspeople (or not, since the advent of the internet it is possible to live very well from sport with any sport level) show transparency, at least honesty, on the financial aspect of the world in which they live. To my knowledge, it was the Canadian Cody Beals who was the first to discuss the subject in depth on his website while explaining his choices.
I have recorded ALL of my money flows since I was 18, which gives me some perspective and experience in this field. On the other hand, my studies and my activities in the fields of sciences and economics lead me to hold a certain rigor with regard to these data, drawing from them very useful lessons on a daily basis and deploring a lot too many drifts. Briefly, for each category, I will explain the choices I have had to make, hoping that this will be useful as a basis for your thinking. Overall, I tried to reduce my level of expenditure « reasonably » by trying to maintain a certain dignity of life for the benefit of a few… In fact, reducing its overall costs masks disparities: I set up on my own scale choices of decrease and choices of growth to be better engaged in my « action plan », choices which are today much more impactful than a ballot giving an illusion of democracy. So reducing spending is probably a necessity as the concepts of sobriety, reason, frugality will become essential to achieve collectively living with dignity AND radically reduce our environmental mutilation. If looking around is essential and can be done on an individual scale, it is even more vital to look far above you on a collective level…
When I chose to do high-performance sport my profession, I had some beliefs in the field. First, I saw in my first year of triathlon all these guys, pros, amateurs, on the podiums, in the media, covered with logos, brands, often multinationals. Mechanically, I thought it should pay off. I also grew up in a certain culture of meritocracy, which is not the best model / system but one of the least worse in my opinion, exacerbated by school and higher education from the age of 3 to 25. This representation of the individual explain the consequences as something linear to the causes. In clearer terms, in sport, the reward proportional to progress, for example. If you ever have the ambition to go from the amateur category to the pro category or to come from another sport to triathlon, I will not give you the injunction to avoid this as some have been told mostly a posteriori. This is narrow-minded, perhaps under the influence of a malaise which weakens them more than others. On the other hand, if you feel the desire and the motivation, what I can tell you is this: say « no », have ambition, get out of your comfort zone, go ahead, take risks, be cold or hot but not lukewarm, assume yourself, do not let yourself be impressed by this society which is reducing the fields (figuratively as well as in the proper sense of the term).
Here are the 2020 forecasts of my monthly expenses based on the last years and on the inflation that I personally observe which has nothing to do with a very unrepresentative statistical inflation like on which I could work some years ago (to be trivial: we do not care that the price of televisions decreases, however 100% inscrease of the cost of butter matters).
♦ ACCOMMODATION: 481 €
- Studio rent: 350 €
For a 40-year-old studio in the Southern Alps, that’s enough. Prices inflated as too often in France by mass tourism which has a common effect with real estate speculation: by renting a too big part of accommodation to tourists (short-term), the part of long-term rentals / purchases per year (supply) remaining for the local population becomes low compared to demand and prices increase for various reasons (lack of price control, greed, poor evaluation of the collective overall cost, etc.).
- Water and electricity: 50 €
Regarding the condition of the studio, it is very difficult to get below this sum. However, this represents consumption well below the average per capita, and this without being able to pool consumption.
- Mobile phone subscription: 25 €
Competition is an illusion, we are dealing with an oligopolistic situation and that’s it.
- Internet subscription: 20 €
Since I went to a low-cost distributor, things have been better for me. On the other hand, what about employees?
- Home insurance: 21 €
I hope that the caviar I pay to the big shareholders allows them to improve their sad fate.
- Miscellaneous (mainly equipment): 15 €
With my minimalist tendencies in furniture terms, I don’t need anything except when it becomes obsolete …
♦ CLOTHING: 5 €
Yes, you read that right.
♦ FOOD: 540 €
Again, this is very serious. It will deserve details but in a few words: healthy, ethical, ecological, political.
♦ HEALTH: 93 €
- Mutual health insurance membership fee: 28 €
As the public administration is dismantled, this contribution increases by ten percent per year, and yet it is a mutual insurance (non-profit society whose members can participate in the General Assembly and elect a Board of Directors) and not a complementary insurance (service offered by insurances for predatory purposes).
- Consultations, exams, equipment: 50 €
The year 2019 was not a gift at this level (more than 1,000 €). To see the glass half full, it will be said that I am ahead of 2020…
- Life accident insurance: 15 €
By evaluating the risks linked to my lifestyle, this insurance is relatively interesting.
♦ TRANSPORTS: 255 €
- Car fuel (considering 17,000 km per year): 142 €
My participation in the financial health of SMEs in the Provencal and Alpine petroleum crafts.
- Car insurance: 58 €
It is imply a scam for a 1,000 € car. We are touching the limits of actuarial models. You can get insurance almost half the price but in general it gets stuck when they have to play their role.
- Car maintenance (tires, brakes, etc.): 35 €
I do the maintenance myself except big hassle.
- Motorway tolls: 10 €
I limit highways as much as possible.
- Paid parking: 10 €
- Flights: ??? €
This year, nothing planned at the moment and in any case it is to be limited.
- Sea crossings: 0 €
This year, no cruise on my 65 meter yacht armored in gold which rests peacefully in a port of the Cayman Islands.
- Car rentals: ??? €
It goes hand in hand with air travel.
♦ BANK (fees, contributions, agios): 10 €
In theory, it should not be too bad. I have been able to integrate the codes of finance for years and I know how to speak to the ear of currency unicorns.
♦ SPORT : ???? €
- Pool access: 18 €
It is an investment that I pay for rather well and the chlorine makes it good for me by stripping my skin.
- Gym access: 0 €
This year, nothing planned at this level, I do some exercises at home or in the wild. Cross training indoors (or outside), accompanied by a good specialist represents a tool of choice for developing a lot of qualities transferable to all sports and strengthen to limit the risk of injury.
- Sports nutrition: 37 € in 2019
Overall, everything that is ultra-transformed industrial is to be avoided, but sometimes it can be useful for training and competition.
- Triathlon license: 14 € in 2019
In almost total disagreement with the financial policy of the French Triathlon Federation, the price of licenses (notably the famous federal part, around 100 € per year per licensee) is regularly put back on the table at each election by its detractors. For 2020, I am not (yet?) licensed…
- Ironman PRO membership: 72 € in 2019
A joke. The cost of Ironman’s PRO licenses is in principle used to carry out doping controls on those who have this license. In fact, it is often the same athletes who are controlled, those who are part of the « pool » (athletes targeted as being the best in the world, about twenty triathletes at the time I was told). I have strong doubts about using the full cost of PRO licenses to detect doping. Note that this license allows you to do all the races of the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 labels where there is a PRO category (then the question of the budget arises to go around the world).
- Other clubs licenses (swimming, cycling, running): 0 €
Limitation of expenses. Otherwise it would be nice to be in a cycling club with my triathlon bike or in a running club with my mini-shorts.
- Registration for competitions outside Ironman label: 42 € in 2019
The multinational Ironman not yet being the master of the sports world, there are still and it appears races of high quality and high added value. These have a cost (in general lower than the Ironman label) and even if sometimes the organizers whom I thank, aware of the difficulties of most high-performance athletes (remember that half of the best French athletes selected at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games lived below the poverty line), in a solidarity approach, grant free registration or a little more, sometimes organizations do not have this policy (moreover the Ironman brand is part of it), or else I do not ask local race organizers to keep a minimum of financial solidarity.
- Competition accommodations: 46 € in 2019
Over time, I have developed solid skills to find almost ideal accommodation at a lower cost. The price to pay is obviously the time and energy spent in research.
- Training camps and structures: 0 € in 2019
Of course, ideally some training camps at altitude and in the heat would be profitable, but for the moment it is not compatible.
- Physical, mental preparation and other training follow-up services (Strava, Tacx): 20 € in 2019
The majority of the expenses come from a few sessions related to the psychological side that I did at the end of the year. 2020 will be in the same costs.
- Information and communication expenses (website, equipment, etc.): 14 € in 2019
I manage everything.
- Swimming equipment and maintenance: 77 € in 2019
No sponsors. However, it is easy to understand that the triathlon attracts practitioners with average incomes of 4,000 € per month.
- Bike equipment and maintenance: 223 € in 2019
- Running equipment and maintenance: 66 € in 2019
TOTAL: 1,402 € PER MONTH
This sum is that without the expenses related to sport. Understand this as if I entered 0 € in the SPORT category as well as in the sub-categories Flights and Car rentals, which is the case to date for 2020. So this is an example of real cost of life today in France if we want to live with a certain dignity in everyday life but without any extras. No cinemas, no trips, no paid outings, etc.
Minimum wage in France? 1,200 € of crumbs. Where’s the money? In a handful of parasites, the real ones, not what TV points to (unemployed, foreigners of all situations, civil servants, etc.) as being those who steal money from honest French people who get up in the morning and who represent a drop in the bucket ocean of blood pumped by a tiny percentage of psychopaths.
If you have any questions or constructive comments, including with regard to your own situation, I would be happy to answer them and discuss with you. Idem if you have ideas or good plans, I’m interested. Let’s share knowledge. Let us observe, inform ourselves, train ourselves and act together to massively adopt virtuous paradigms.