Increasing Human Capital the Right Way

Isabel Trevino-Period 7 Honorbound

Individuals have the ability to make life financially easy or challenging for themselves. A large part of this financial freedom depends on how badly they want their human capital to reach the highest point of fulfillment. Living a better, happier, and less complicated life is centered on the decisions one makes in order to improve his/her lifestyle and well-being. The author of Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan, said that, “Human capital is the sum total of skills embodied within an individual: education, intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, entrepreneurial vigor, even the ability to throw a baseball fast”. [1] Wheelan emphasizes that the skills an individual possesses could be anything they are proficient at or with. Recent news has reported that the highest paid athlete is Cristiano Ronaldo, a professional soccer player who plays for Real Madrid and is on the national team for Portugal. How did he get to where he is now and does he even deserve this? Ronaldo makes all of his success possible by increasing his human capital, not only his ability to play soccer, but also his involvement in charity, sponsoring, and modeling.

Over the years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of the greatest soccer players of his generation. Not only does he have the skill to play soccer, but he has also taken advantage of all the opportunities he has had to increase his human capital. Because he has capitalized on all he has to offer as an athlete and person, he has earned “$88 million over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses, and endorsements.…. [and] is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990”. [2] Due to his meticulous approach of capitalizing on all he has to offer as a person, Ronaldo has been able to spend his money wisely and also gives back to others. An example of his charity work includes his “donation of $165,000 (£114,000) to a Portuguese cancer center and $83,000 (£57,000) to fund a 10-year-oldfan’s brain surgery”. [3] It is always nice to give back to others and Ronaldo is a very generous man for using his talents and personality to help people in need. As Charles Wheelan said, “Human capital is about much more than earning more money. It makes us better parents, more informed voters, more appreciative of art and culture, more able to enjoy the fruits of life”. [4] Therefore, I agree that human capital includes so much more than just money. Ronaldo has the same understanding of this. As a result, he has had the resources to have a hobby of collecting and buying some of the most expensive cars. In terms of his use of sponsorship to increase his human capital, Ronaldo makes “more than one-third of that ($32 million/£22 million)…from endorsement deals with companies like Tag Heuer and Nike”. [5] By doing what he does best, he has become a public icon and major companies like Tag Heuer and Nike, want him to sponsor him. As of now, Ronaldo will continue to increase his human capital. He stated, “Who knows what the future holds. Of course, I would like to end my career at this club. This is my penultimate contract. I want to be here for many years to come. I’m overjoyed”. [6]

In conclusion, it is appropriate to say that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves all of his earnings and should keep increasing his human capital status because of his ability to ethically use his capital for not only personal expenses, but also for charitable causes. He does a great job of being a professional soccer player, as well as a pronounced role model to many people. Money plays a major role in society, but human capital has a greater complexity to it; it’s about making something of oneself and capitalizing on what one has to offer to society as a whole.


[1] Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 127.

[2] Badenhausen, Kurt. “Cristiano Ronaldo Leads the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes of 2016.” Forbes(Forbes), June 8, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2016/06/08/the-worlds-highest-paid-athletes-of-2016/#1b6ce49f538d.

[3] Insider. “How Cristiano Ronaldo, the World’s Highest-Paid Sports Star, Spends His Millions.” June 10, 2016. Accessed December 5, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-real-madrids-cristiano-ronaldo-spends-all-his-money-2016-6/#but-hes-displayed-human-moments-like-the-time-he-cried-after-winning-the-ballon-dor-last-year-24.

[4] Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 134.

[5] Insider. “How Cristiano Ronaldo, the World’s Highest-Paid Sports Star, Spends His Millions.” June 10, 2016. Accessed December 5, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-real-madrids-cristiano-ronaldo-spends-all-his-money-2016-6/#ronaldo-earned-88-million-61-million-in-the-last-12-months-according-to-forbes-making-him-the-highest-paid-sports-star-in-the-world-1.

[6] Badenhausen, Kurt. “World’s Highest-Paid Athlete Cristiano Ronaldo Signs New Real Madrid Contract.” Forbes (Forbes), November 7, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2016/11/07/worlds-highest-paid-athlete-cristiano-ronaldo-signs-new-real-madrid-contract/#6647746c5a13.

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