Present and future sports stars may want to take a good look at the Shaun White Playbook of how to set yourself up for retirement before the age of 30. Having turned 31 in 2018, White has transitioned from skier to skateboarder to snowboarder, reaping in millions of dollars and two Olympic gold medals along the way. He accomplished these feats while having to overcome a childhood congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, which required multiple surgeries. His current estimated net worth stands at $40 million.
As every success story has a support structure that accompanies it, White had gained a number of endorsements from major companies when he was still very young. Endorsees included telecommunications giant T-Mobile, major retailer Target, Mountain Dew, and technology giant Hewlett-Packard. His success story in snowboarding earned him a plus $1 million a year deal with Burton Snowboards, which extends into 2019. Being among the younger sports success stories, White has also endorsed a number of clothing lines, mostly winter gear we suspect.
But it his personal brand that brings in the majority of his personal income. Taking advantage of the free publicity he gets from appearing in the Olympic Games every four years, White has launched his own video series about snowboarding. That was followed up with several video games primarily based on his snowboarding moves: Shaun White Pro Snowboarder, Shaun White Snowboarding, and Shaun White Skateboarding. In a Forbes magazine article back in 2008, endorsements alone added more than $9 million to his kitty.
While the endorsement income was rolling in, White didn’t stand still but got involved in real estate at a relatively early age. He has a beach house rental in Malibu that he generates a monthly income from, along with an Encinitas, California home he bought back in 2012 for a cool $3.85 million. He also flipped a home in Hollywood Hills West in 2017, selling it for $6.7 million while only paying $2.5 million for it less than 8 years earlier. California real estate prices are among the country’s most expensive, and his properties have nothing but an upward trend to them.
Current estimates have White making around $10 million annually for his complete list of income generating efforts. As in the case of the Burton Snowboards endorsement deal, his contract expires next year, so though it may sound a bit odd he may have already maximized his income potential. Few athletes extend their endorsement contracts beyond their playing years, and the interest in snowboarding superstars only comes around once every 4 years.
Yet the multi-talented White also has made mini-careers as an actor and singer. The dream of being a teenage rock star is something many people have had, and White landed in this territory when he took on the role of a guitarist in the electronic rock band, Bad Things. While this did not significantly increase his total income or net worth, it was something a multimillionaire athlete can do. While diversification is great, it can also bring about a number of unexpected problems. Those problems often end up more about the people you choose to work with rather than the misuse of your natural talents.
Despite his consistently upward movement in net worth, White has not escaped his share of controversy and hits to his total net worth. His involvement with the rock band Bad Things ironically brought bad things into his life. One of those things came in the person of Lena Zawaideh, a fellow rock band member. She had filed a lawsuit against white a few years ago in 2016, accusing him of breach of contract and sexual harassment. While the case was settled out of court a short time later, its terms were not disclosed. Generally, this kind of silent treatment involves the accused paying out large sums of money without anything proven one way or the other.
The negative impact this legal action has on White’s future remains to be seen. With the growing public voice of the #MeToo movement, the value of White’s personal brand is likely to have taken a hit. At 31, he is not likely to have many more years on the snowboarding circuit, though he did participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The estimated net worth of $40 million may actually be a bit low, but from everything we have seen his total net worth is likely to have peaked.