July 16, 2024
Serena Williams

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 25: Serena Williams arrives to the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 25, 2023 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

Serena Williams mastered money management early in her teens, a skill her father, Richard Williams, gave her the freedom to develop. This early practice laid a strong foundation for her business acumen as a multi-million-dollar brand.

During an April 30 interview on Bloomberg Originals’ “The Deal” podcast, hosted by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Kelly, the tennis star recalled what it was like to receive significant checks from brands like Puma when she was still in high school.

Serena is said to have earned $13 million over five years from age 16 to 21 for endorsing the brand.

Big Money Teen
She told the hosts, “Literally, my first checks from whether it was Puma, like I got these huge checks. [My dad], he’s like, you figure it out. We had to figure it out.”

She added, “I’m literally living at his house in the bedroom next to Venus. I was 16 and he’s like, you know, most parents, you know, they take your money. They take something. But you know, he’s like, ‘You figure it out.’ And so I remember having to figure that out and having to learn how to manage from a very early age. Yeah. And not get crazy with it. And so he empowered us to do that.”

While King Richard may lose the aforementioned childhood home to foreclosure due to financial mismanagement and legal troubles involving his wife Lakeisha Graham-Williams, he is said to have been hands-on with other aspects of their careers — such as their training. Still, his entrusting his daughters with their own money set them up for greatness.

Taking charge of her earnings was entirely up to Serena, and she took this responsibility seriously. Even though she took money management seriously, “money was never a motivation” for her to do well in the sport. It was simply something that came with the championship territory.

“I remember when I first started, back in the day, they used to write out checks after you won your tournament. And I would always forget to get the checks,” she recalled. “And so at the end of the year they would always have to say, ‘Serena, we have all these checks for you.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ And at the time, I had an accountant who would be like, ‘Serena. They sent me all these checks that you would forget to get from the tournaments.’”

One key piece of advice from her father that has helped her over the years was to ensure that her tennis earnings remained the smallest part of her income.

Following this principle, the mother of two accumulated $94.8 million in prize money throughout her career, according to Sporting News, but earned even more off the court.

Much of her estimated net worth of $340 million is thanks to her numerous endorsement deals and business ventures​, according to Forbes.

“For me, success right now is having great investments,” she continued to say on the podcast.

There has been no better way for her to get involved with great investments than to pull together her own team. Since doing so, she has seen her wealth expand.

This financial growth has been further fueled by numerous endorsement deals and entrepreneurial ventures, including co-founding Will Perform, Nine Two Six Productions and hopefully her new makeup line, WYN Beauty Line.

Her entrepreneurial spirit extends to her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures. Through this firm and personal investments, she has backed 16 companies that have achieved unicorn status, demonstrating her keen eye for promising ventures.

The star athlete might be getting some of her financial tips from her hubby, Alexis Ohanian.

While in college and in his 20s, he co-founded Reddit with Steve Huffman. A tech and fintech giant, Ohanian has significantly grown his wealth by leading various tech companies.

Through one of those companies, Initialized Capital, he invested in startups like Instacart, Rippling, Opendoor, and Coinbase. After leaving IC in 2020, he founded VC firm 776 in 2021, focusing on early-stage crypto startups.

Ohanian also co-founded Das Kapital Capital in 2010 and was a partner at Y Combinator. He and Williams have two daughters, Alexis Olympia and Adira River.

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