[Whistle Blows] Sports Parents! The End Game is Retirement

February 3, 2017 | Kendra Galante

As Americans gather on a certain Sunday in February to watch a certain very Big Game, the experience of shared sportsmanship and camaraderie may get some parents thinking about their own children’s athletic aspirations.

Many parents know the struggle of registering, buying equipment for sprouting kids, rushing from school to practice, from the studio to the pool, coordinating snacks and rides with fellow parents, and even traveling great distances for tournaments or competitions.

All in the hopes of a lucrative future, right? For some children, perhaps. But unfortunately, not for all. In fact, a 2016 TD Ameritrade survey revealed that hopes don’t always line up with reality…

Scholarship Hopes vs. Reality

  • 67 percent of sports parents hope for an athletic scholarship
  • Yet only 24 percent of athletic youngsters actually earned one

Pro Hopes vs. Reality

  • 34 percent of sports parents think their kid will go pro or go to the Olympics
  • But only 2 percent of athletic youngsters actually turned pro or made the Olympics

That’s why it’s important for parents not to let the allure of the Big Game, or the Olympics, or other impressive athletic achievements, cloud their financial vision. In addition to sacrificing family vacations and other extras, parents of elite athletes admit to saving less, delaying retirement and tapping college funds to pay for sports.

Of the 1,000 parents surveyed:

  • Two-thirds regularly contribute to a retirement account, while one-third do not (33 percent)
  • A majority have no long-term financial plan (57 percent)
  • Sixty percent say they have an emergency fund, but 40 percent do not

This is not to say that Americans should ditch sports. On fields and courts around the country, young minds are challenged – physically, socially and emotionally. They learn to train, compete and, hopefully, win and lose with grace. Sports parents see these valuable benefits as priceless, but should take care not to sideline their own financial goals in the pursuit of competition.

Parent or athlete, setting goals is a first step to achieving dream. Perhaps while waiting on the sidelines during a game, parents could steal a few minutes to outline their financial goals. And with limited time and resources due to sports commitments, many parents might enjoy the ease and accessibility of free online resources to help keep them on the right track.

Image via Dreamstime.com