Ric Flair, whose birth name was Richard Morgan Fliehr (pronounced flair, not flyer) will amazingly be turning 70 in a few months. He is one of professional wrestling’s most famous and popular names, making appearances in both the WWE (World Wresting Entertainment) network and as a member of the WCW (World Championship Wrestling) circuit. He continues to be beloved by fans since his 1973 debut at the IWE (International Wrestling Enterprise) competition on Japan.
Flair has had an interesting life, where he has managed to amass about $3 million. First, he had been adopted as a child, making his childhood more than a bit challenging. It was in his high school years that he took up the sport of wrestling, also participating in football and track team sports. From there, he went to college but opted to drop out of pursue a professional wresting career. In 1973, television was just beginning to churn out money for wrestling as well as roller derby as alternatives to the major sports of baseball, football, hockey, and basketball.
What set Flair apart from many of the other wrestlers was his between the ropes flair. It any sports you need to find a way to separate yourself from the pack, and Flair had the type of charismatic personality that would lay the foundation for him to accumulate his millions. The style earned him the title of “Nature Boy” – a name that would define him for the rest of his career after quickly recovering from an airplane crash.
Based on data from the WCW, Flair’s best year in wrestling from a financial perspective was 1998 when he made more than $780,000. Overall, his total career earnings for his WCW career amounted to nearly $2 million, placing in the lucky 13 spot on the WCW list and potentially accounts for the lion’s share of his total net worth. Obviously, Flair had traveling and professional expenses during the course of his career, so a conservatives estimate is that he could have potentially saved about one half of those earnings. He had other sources of income from personal endorsements and guest appearances, but wrestling is not as lucrative as one of the Big Four major sports in America.
While total net worth numbers tend to be on the low side for celebrities because they keep some of their financial information under close guard, in Flair’s case he had the potential to have a much higher number. But the $3 million may actually be a bit high. One of the biggest reasons is Flair’s lack of financial discipline and personality, the latter ironically having brought him most of his wealth. Consider a few select statements made by him that are indicative of his attitude towards wealth and work.
“The most I ever work is three days a week. Very rare that I will work four.” Not this is tempered by his claim that the majority of his life was focused on his children, raising them and spending time with them. But the statement seems to be one where he chose to limit his income potential simply because he knew he could make a lot of money with only a few days work. But as many sports professionals know, you strike while the iron is hot to maximize the value of your popularity.
“When last year I spent more money, on spilled liquor, in bars from one side of this world to the other, than you made! You’re talking to the Rolex wearing, diamond ring wearing …” Flair definitely both his popularity and the money that came with it, but luxury lifestyles require consistent sources of cash. It can be argued that the Rolex and diamond ring were all part of the Nature Boy image, but given his best year was only around three-quarters of a million dollars, the money can go fast.
Ric Flair probably doesn’t need much money at 70, and unless he had a child when he was in his mid-50’s his time is largely his own. The problem with time is that you legacy fades, and your charisma is replaced by someone who is more in tune with the new generation of sports wrestling fans. The $3 million net worth is likely to fade away as well, and what he will have to pass down to his children other than his legacy is something we will have to wait to see.