Youth sports dreams don’t have to drain your wallet
Helping your kids live out their dreams of going pro in sports can get pretty expensive.
A TD Ameritrade survey found that 63% of families spend from $100 to $499 per child each month on youth sports. That adds up! Eighteen percent reported spending $500 to $999 monthly.
If your child is playing at regional or national club level, you could shell out thousands of dollars annually paying for tuition, uniforms and travel to tournaments.
In some cases, parents find themselves funding training for their future star athletes at the expense of their own retirement. The thought process is that it will pay off when they get that full athletic scholarship to the university of their dreams, make it to the Olympics or the Major Leagues.
However, the reality is even those college athletic scholarships are rare. Most would do well to aim for an academic/athletic scholarship mix if they are really looking to cut down on out-of-pocket college costs.
Relying on your kids’ success is not exactly the best retirement plan. In fact, it’s the worst. It puts undue pressure on your kids and takes the fun out of playing sports. Countless teens have practically grown up honing their skills and talent, only to decide when they graduate from high school that they’re burned out and don’t want to continue in college.
The good news is there are ways your kids can enjoy the benefits of playing sports while they are young without you going broke or ignoring your retirement goals. Here are a few ideas.
Look into local recreation leagues: Your community’s parks and recreation department probably offers seasonal sports programs. These leagues can be considerably cheaper than the club route. However, coaches are usually volunteers, so consistent training can be hit or miss.
Look into club program financial aid: Club leagues sometimes offer financial aid and/or scholarships. Doing the research could literally pay off.
Save money on equipment/uniforms: Try tapping into your local parents’ or sports groups on Facebook or apps like Nextdoor to get a deal on gently used equipment. State what you need and wait for the responses. Whether the kids changed their minds, opted to try something new or just upgraded their equipment, you’d be surprised at how many families are trying to offload perfectly good equipment.