The Manchester United star and Goal Rich List entrant discusses player wealth, David Beckham, charity work and giving the right advice to young teammates
By Kris Voakes
Speaking exclusively to Goal.com, the defender, who ranks No.10 in our definitive index of the world’s wealthiest footballers, admitted that people in other professions are more worthy of the kind of riches available to players in the modern era.
"Are we overpaid compared to the public service people? The army that serve our country? I'd say definitely," said Ferdinand.
"But we don't get paid as much as athletes from a lot of other sports - the golfers, tennis players, basketball players, the baseball stars, they get paid ridiculous money compared to what we get paid."
Ferdinand, 34, believes his former team-mate David Beckham, who tops the Goal Rich List with a £175 million fortune, has shown how a knack for business can maximise a player’s earning potential.
"I think he's a great advert for how you handle your image,” said Ferdinand.
"It looks like the perfect way, because he's always on the front pages if he does anything, [but] you've got him on one hand and you've got Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs on the other, and they chose the other way. Giggsy could still go in a magazine if he wanted to, and I'm sure your list reflects that."
Ferdinand also has plenty of interests outside the game which have helped him to amass his personal fortune.
"I've always been interested in business, even since I was a kid I've done things a little bit different[ly] to my peers.
"Football has always been my number one passion and always will be, but to keep my mind off being in the doldrums sometimes after games etc. I keep my mind busy by doing business stuff.
"I've got my magazine, the digital No.5 Magazine, my restaurant and obviously my No.5 clothing brand that's taking off at the moment and doing really well."
Ferdinand’s £42m fortune puts him in amongst the 10 richest footballers playing the game today, but he is quick to point out that players have their ways of putting something back into their communities.
"I think it's imperative we give back. Ninety-nice per cent of footballers do stuff for their charities, whether it be their local charities or through the clubs.
"My charity, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, is really close to my heart in helping young kids and we've had a couple of thousand kids go through the courses that we provide to give them a chance to get on in life, to attain qualifications and to give them a foothold in some sort of business or education.
"I think where you grow up definitely [gives you motivation], I use it as an inspiration.
"I managed to move my mum and dad, and my brothers and sisters out of the area. But we've got family and friends there and we visit all the time.
“Sometimes if you're surrounded by some negative aspects that go on in your community, then you can get in trouble, but I wouldn't change my upbringing and where I grew up for anything."
The 81-cap defender places a lot of stock in the advice shared between footballers for the masses of cash earned in the modern era.
"I think being a senior player in the changing room that young players do sometimes come to you and ask your advice on how to deal with certain situations financially.
"I've got a financial advisor who looks after my finances, but you've got to take a full interest in it. When my advisor's get anything to talk to me about - tax situations and different investments - I like to have a good thorough look through it and [gain] knowledge of what is going on before I commit to it, so that's the kind of information that I pass on.
"When I was younger I maybe jumped into relationships with different financial people too quickly, but I think you've got to learn from those experiences and the sooner you learn, the better. The current people I've been with, I've been with for around 12 years now, and they've been good by me."