Debt Spending On Kids Sports?

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File this phenomenon under the heading ‘I Don’t Get It’.  Parents are now going into debt to fund their kids sports and extracurricular activities because they believe that the skills will help them earn more money some day.  What?

The recent survey from, shows that 8 out of 10 of today’s parents believe that the money they spend on sports (30%), music (16%), dance (16%), gymnastics (15%), cheerleading (9%),  martial arts (8%), and even beauty pageants (3%), is an investment that will pay off financially for their kids.

And these parents are serious about it.  The survey says 62% of these parents are going into debt to fund the activities – about $3,000 already on average.  Most of the debt is racked up on credit cards and 64% of them are already “stressed about being able to pay” the debt off.

I wrote this post about the surprising cost of kids’ sports when I joined a tennis club a few years ago.  Since then, I’ve spoken with dozens of people who pay thousands and thousands of dollars each year on sports – sometimes for more than one kid in their household.  Our son was in scouts, band, ran cross-country/track, and which maybe cost us hundreds of dollars a year, but certainly not thousands.

As a public service, I thought I would include this chart which shows the very long odds of making money in professional sports (source) …

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I’m a big fan of sports at all levels – high school, college, and professional.  These and other activities are a lot of what a well-lived life is filled with.  That said, anyone who thinks these are solid investments for making money in the future (except in a small number of unique cases) are seriously deluding themselves.


Image Credit: Pixabay

6 thoughts on “Debt Spending On Kids Sports?

  1. This is crazy, but we were guilty of also spending a small fortune with both of our girls playing Travel Softball and other sports over their youths. Both were college level athletes and our youngest daughter was a high level D1 pitching prospect and offered several scholarships opportunities to play softball. (Which she ended up turning down.) But we always made sports about them having fun and learning good life lessons such as discipline and team work, etc. Anyone banking on sports as an investment is just plain crazy or ignorant of the actual statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like they were both pretty talented. I could probably get some coaching on my terrible softball swing!


      1. Hit line drives and you’ll soon be going yard. Ted Williams used to say, see the ball big and hit the middle. I used to tell my girls to see the ball as big as a cantaloupe, and you can’t miss slicing it in half. But my best advice for a slow pitch swing is to lift with your elbow when you drink! 😜🍻

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Going to the batting cage tomorrow – and out for a beer afterward. Great timing to get these tips!


  2. I never went into debt over it but I know the costs all to well. My son has played baseball since he was 5. Little League, travel ball and now high school. I’m sure we have spent a small fortune over this time. I consider it a cost of his happiness more than an investment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great investment in happiness, for sure. I’m still playing league softball in my 50s!


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