U.S. Olympian Adam Rippon, 29, decided to pursue figure skating as a career when he was already an adult, so he also decided to own the expenses involved.
"When I was in my early twenties, I moved to California. I told my mom and my coach that I didn't want any help and I wanted to pay for my own skating," the Pennsylvania-native tells the online investing service Wealthsimple. "I wanted to just be my own man and to be responsible for what I was doing."
In California, he headed to a bank and opened a checking account, in which he deposited the only money he had to his name at the time: 80 euros, or about $90, he'd collected from a competition in Europe. "With that, I needed to budget for ice time and to pay to go to the gym — because at the time, going to the gym was what was going to help me get more money," he says.
Rippon was as thrifty as possible: He lived in his coach's basement and swiped apples from his gym to save money on groceries. Still, for a while, his bank account balance remained well below four-figures.
It wasn't until a big performance at an event right before the 2014 Olympics when Rippon's net worth shot up, he tells Wealthsimple: "I went from having maybe $500 at most — usually I had around $100 in my checking account and I didn't have anything in savings — to all of a sudden getting this big check for $20,000."