Editor’s note: Wells Fargo is the official bank and sponsor of Major League Soccer and the Mexico national team’s U.S. tour, and has produced a series of digital financial health messages featuring player Marco Fabián for the team’s Fut Mex Nation website and Facebook page, as well as for Fabián’s own Facebook page. The social media videos draw on small steps Wells Fargo offers that can add up to big changes in financial health (available in English and Spanish on wellsfargo.com). We asked Fabián about his love of the game and the money management lessons he’s learned along the way.
A Spanish-language version of this story is also available.
Q: How did you become a soccer player?
I’m from Guadalajara, Mexico — born in 1989, and 28 years old today. My dad is Marco Antonio Fabián, an ex-footballer, and my mom is Adriana de la Mora. My childhood was spent in Guadalajara because of my father’s days playing soccer. We moved around a lot — I lived a year in León, two years in Puebla, then Ciudad Victoria for another transfer, and returned when I was 7 years old to Guadalajara. At age 8, I started playing for Chivas de Guadalajara’s youth teams, where I lived until I was 17 — which is when I fulfilled my dreams to debut as a professional soccer player.
Q: Besides soccer, what activities do you enjoy?
I love sports, but also enjoy watching and playing tennis when I have the time. I also enjoy relaxing activities like watching movies, listening to music, and dining with loved ones. And I enjoy spending time with people I care about — that’s very valuable to me.
Q: Let’s talk about money. What’s the one habit that has helped you improve your finances the most?
Surrounding myself with conscientious people, such my father, and others who offer actual examples of what they’ve done in the past with their money. It is very important for my peace of mind to invest well, whether in real estate, some type of business, or simply saving money (versus spending), which is very important. For me it’s the best step, and what I'm implementing these days.
Q: Several athletes use professionals to manage their money. How do you manage your finances?
The most important thing is to have someone who gives you good advice, and who you can trust, because trust is very important and offers the assurance that you will not lose your money.
Q: What’s the toughest aspect of managing money?
I think the very important decisions are where to invest your money, how to be secure, how to obtain quality guidance, and how to avoid making decisions that don’t align with your needs.
Q: What resources does your team offer for money management?
I believe that today, and not only on your team, but at home and in all aspects of your life, it’s important that the people around you help you save and access the savings, insurance, and other products you need for financial success.
It’s important to have access to a team representative that helps you manage your money well, including knowing which bank would help you save more. For example, on my current team, there are people in Germany who help us invest our money better, identify where we can receive better interest, or simply offer advice on how you can better plan your future.
Q: Do people expect you to pick up the check all the time?
(Laughs) There are people who invite themselves just for that. Some ‘friends’ actually believe you’re responsible or make you feel obligated to pay because you may have more resources to invite them to dinner or a drink. That’s really not our responsibility, but they see it that way. You’ll have your “moochers” emerge, but hey, it happens often in the sports world, and we understand it.
Q: If you weren’t playing soccer for a living, what would you be doing?
I’ve been asked this question many times, and always answer ‘soccer.’ I would still be trying to make it as a soccer player because I never had anything else in mind. I’ll admit to you that I was not very good in school. While I didn’t finish high school, I never repeated a grade! Obviously, my parents believed it was essential to study, but I would see myself working to be a soccer player again (if I wasn’t where I am now). I never had in mind to do something else, so I grew up with a ball, and to this day I feel like a child with the ball beside me. If I had to do something else it would be related to sports, because I love sports.
Q: What do you hope life after soccer looks like?
Honestly, taking all best examples including the greatest players. The most important is to retire well: physically and financially. First, have something sustainable — economic security for your family — and most important, take in all the good advice. Second, to prepare myself by having a clear plan without worry. If you have good savings, economic security, and you’re physically okay to enjoy all them, having time is incomparable. Our life is in a hotel, in a plane, on a soccer field, and sometimes you don’t have quality time for your family. So, post-career I’m working towards a good economic approach.
Q: Whose post-soccer career do you admire most, and why?
I admire Pelé very much. I see how he’s still relevant with people, how he helps so many people, his humility, and how people still love him so much. I hope people feel that way about me one day and my legacy when I’m no longer playing the game.
Q: When did you say to yourself, ‘Marco, you made it?’
I don’t think that time has come. Thank God, I am very happy with my career path to date. I’ve experienced very bad moments and made many mistakes in my career. I’ve also had very good moments and experiences: from the first day of my (Chivas) debut, my debut in the first division, scoring my first goal, playing my first full game, debuting in the Mexico national team, scoring my first goal with the Mexico national team, playing in a major tournament, winning a gold medal in the Olympics, and playing for a World Cup. With each achievement, I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I want more and there’s more left to do.” I still don’t place a ceiling or limit on what is possible. I think when that time comes — when I do — that will be the day I retire. To look in a mirror and say, “Marco, you’ve fulfilled your dreams.” I hope that day comes, and I achieve the career I’ve been planning since I was a child. But I think that moment has yet to come.