Venus Williams saves most of her prize money but splurges on one guilty pleasure

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Venus Williams saves most of her prize money—but has one guilty pleasure

It’s been nearly two decades since Venus Williams captured her first Wimbledon title at age 20 in 2000. Since that first big win, the tennis star has collected six more Grand Slam singles titles and raked in a total of $40.5 million in prize money. But just because she earns millions doesn’t mean she blows through cash.

Williams has played it safe with her money from day one: Her first major paycheck, the £430,000 she collected for winning Wimbledon in 2000, went straight into the bank. “I really didn’t spend any of it,” she tells CNBC Make It.

Still, she admits to treating herself from time to time: “I love jewelry and so that’s definitely my guilty pleasure. I go splurge on that occasionally.”

Venus Williams 

“I think we all have patterns,” says Williams, who, in addition to competing on the pro circuit, has an apparel line, an interior design company and has partnered with companies like Systane. “Some people are savers instinctually. Other people spend instinctually.”

The tennis legend is competing in her 21st Wimbledon this year and looking to capture her sixth title at the All England Club. In 2018, the singles champ will take home £2.25 million in prize money but, regardless of how Williams fares, her result likely won’t change her conservative money philosophy.

When she started making millions, she says, she realized, “I just didn’t want to become a statistic, or one of those athletes that had it all and then in the end had nothing.” That cautionary tale “was always in the back of my mind, so it made me want to be more realistic with how I spent money.”

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Serena Williams of the U.S. runs to chase down a return from Roberta Vinci of Italy in the third set during their women's singles semi-final match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2015.

Kathleen Elkins

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