This article, written by Yash Bhika, was originally published in The Red & Black.
Haley Clark has been a key member for the Georgia women’s basketball team all season. While some of her work on the court doesn’t translate directly over to the stat sheet, her presence is felt throughout the team.
While she is shadowed by players like Caliya Robinson and Mackenzie Engram, her off the court accomplishments help her stand out. The senior already graduated with a finance degree in May 2017, and is pursuing a master’s degree in financial planning.
“I think it’s our goals for any of our young ladies that they can graduate early,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “We want them to start their master’s and get their second degree while we can pay for it, and help them navigate that.”
Clark’s initial interest in the field of finance came when she was in middle school. As a young child, she would make bracelets and bring candy to sell to her fellow classmates.
“I always liked gathering money, saving money and things like that,” Clark said. “So, my parents introduced me to finance. They were like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re going to be a finance person.’”
Her obsession with money as a child led her to coming up with creative ideas, so she could earn an extra buck. She used to hide breakfast food such as cereal, eggs and bacon from her family. Clark would then charge them money in order to get the food.
“I would be like, ‘Hey, are you hungry, what do you want for breakfast,?’” Clark said. “I’ll be like, ‘Ok, three bucks a bowl.’”
Unlike most kids who have the tendency to spend all their money, Clark was the exact opposite. She had no interest in buying anything. In fact her main goal was to save all the proceeds she got from her sales.
Clark did not have a savings account when she was little, so she had to resort to hiding her money in intricate places. Some of her famous hiding spots were underneath her bed, inside her shoe or in between books on her shelf.
The spots were so good at times that she forgot where the money was.
“I hid money from myself a lot of times,” Clark said. “I’d hide like 50 bucks, and then like two months later forget it and then three months later, ‘Oh, there’s that 50 I hid,’ I had to put it in a new spot where I couldn’t remember.”
Clark was taking the normal 12-to-15 hours per semester, but now that she’s going for her master’s she is taking nine hours.
“My undergrad was a lot more vigorous and time consuming than my master’s,” Clark said. “It’s actually more chill having nine hours. I have more time to get into the gym actually right now.”
While getting her undergrad degree in three years came quick for Clark, it was always a process of hard work for her. She sacrificed some of her social life and sleep but she eventually got it done.
She has already started to implement some of her financial teachings on her teammates. This past summer, she created a budget planner to track their expenses. The idea came after the team listened to a speaker at The Georgia Way talk about personal finance. However, Clark believes that only one player is keeping track of their money.
“Taja is a big spender,” Clark said. “She likes shoes, so she texts me all the time. She texted me a couple of days ago, and she was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to my bank to put money in my savings.’ I think Taja has stuck with it, but I don’t know about anybody else.”
Clark usually only gives financial advice to the people that ask for her expertise. She recently had to stop Malury Bates, who is freshman forward for the team, from spending around 600 dollars on clothes.
“She was like, ‘Haley, should I buy all this,?’” Clark said. “I had to say you don’t need this, this is the same shirt in a different color, delete and go through and kind of help her not spend so much…We got it down by like 300 bucks, so I’m sure she didn’t miss that same shirt that was in the same color.”
Even though that goal is in the future, Clark still feels gratification by helping her teammates with the tidbits of financial advice she drops to them.
“It makes me feel good,” Clark said. “It makes me feel like I’m using my education, and that’ll helping them [financially], so I like it. That’s why I’m thinking I want to definitely help professional athletes.”