Most people envision how exactly they’re going to spend their first big check once they receive it. In Serena Williams’ case, it was the opposite situation.
For Forbes’ 2022 list of The World’s Highest-Paid Female Athletes, the retired tennis champion ranked No. 2 having earned $41.3 million. Back in 2017, Williams shared on UNINTERRUPTED’s “Kneading Dough” podcast that whenever she stepped onto the tennis court, her love for the sport was what motivated her, not money.
Focusing on her professional career took her attention away from being overly eager over her earnings. So much so that when she received her first million-dollar check, she took it right to her banking institution.
“I never touched [the money] — just put it in the bank,” Williams told UNINTERRUPTED’s Maverick Carter, per Business Insider. “And I remember I went through the drive-thru to deposit my check, and then they were like, ‘I think you need to come in for this,’ and so I ended up going inside … ‘Just put it in my account!'”
During the course of the interview, Williams recalled how her family’s living situation at her childhood home shaped her perspective on money.
“I never ever, ever felt broke,” she said. “Looking back, I’m like, wow, we lived in a two-bedroom house with seven people … I don’t know how my parents were able to make me feel that way, but they did, and that was something really special.”
Williams continued, “So I never felt when I came into money that I needed to go buy this [or that] because I never wanted it, so it was a great way [to grow up].”
While her checks weren’t heavy on her mind, Williams said that since she was a teenager, her father placed the power in her hands when it came to how to spend them. The responsibility created a learning experience of ups and downs on her financial journey.
Learn more about Williams’ road to financial literacy here.