Parents of Elite Athletes Score Big in Commitment to Kids; Yet Sideline Financial Goals

TD Ameritrade Survey: Parents Prioritize Kids’ Sports
Spending Over Retirement Planning

Ameritrade survey
reveals sports parents are invested in
helping kids achieve athletic aspirations, yet often sideline their own
financial goals. Sports parents are often the unsung heroes behind top
athletes and their dedication to their children is admirable. The survey
results highlight that natural desire to put their children’s needs
before their own. 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.

While many parents have achieved a good balance between spending on
sports and saving for retirement, some could benefit from putting the
same enthusiasm to work for their finances, especially when it comes to
mapping out their long-term financial plan.

Of the 1,001 sports 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

Sports parents bank on scholarships

When it comes to building a retirement nest egg, the cost of college is
a sports parent’s biggest financial hurdle. Forty-three percent of
parents surveyed say competitive youth sports and club teams are too
expensive, but they are still willing to pay so their kids can play. On
average, parents spend between $100–$500 a month per child on
competitive sports, and nearly 20 percent spend at least $1,000 or more.
Many hope the investment will translate into scholarships or
professional careers. However, parents of athletes who are now adults
serve up a reality check.

Scholarship Hopes vs. Reality

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

Olympic Hopes vs. Reality

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

“The survey highlights a real need for sports parents to get on track
with a financial plan, especially considering that only a small
percentage of young athletes secure a scholarship or turn pro, but 100%
of parents will need a nest egg,” said Carrie Braxdale, managing
director of investor services, TD Ameritrade. “Each of us has a shot at
a comfortable retirement, with the right financial planning and support.
Just like an elite athlete, it’s a matter of committing to an approach
and taking the steps to reach a goal.”

Sports parents need to get their financial game on

A majority of the sports parents surveyed agree that investing wisely
and saving are the best ways to pursue retirement goals (79 percent).
Yet these parents show less commitment to their retirement goals than
their children do to sports.

  • Parents spend an average of 10-12 hours a week on youth sports and
    only three hours a week on their finances.
  • Parents are more likely to characterize themselves as
    “Johnny-come-latelys” who got a late start on their retirement
    planning, but are working to catch-up.
  • Nearly 60 percent say they could be better disciplined when it comes
    to financial planning, investing and saving.

“As an Olympic athlete and mom, I know firsthand about getting kids
involved in sports as a way to teach them about setting goals and
achieving dreams. I also know how important it is to prepare for life
beyond competition,” said Chaunte Lowe, three-time U.S. Olympic high
jumper. “Today’s parents are ‘all in’ when it comes to their kids’
athletic activities, but they also need to strike a balance between
supporting their kids’ goals and saving for their own financial future.
With limited time and resources due to sports commitments, parents could
benefit from a little financial
to keep them on the right track.”

Despite the costs, parents say the benefits of youth sports are

The trend toward specialization is strong, with an overwhelming majority
of young elite athletes (83 percent) concentrating on just one sport.
The survey showed that specialization tends to occur between the ages of
9-10. A year-round commitment is typical, and most play their sport at
least nine months out of the year (83 percent).

Parents say such dedication can have its drawbacks.

  • The top drawbacks to competitive youth sports for parents are the
    expenses (77 percent), having less personal time (74 percent) and
    having less time with other siblings (59 percent).
  • When it comes to the kids, parents are most concerned with the
    potential for burnout (49 percent), the time commitment (49 percent)
    and possible injury (46 percent).

But the benefits of youth sports can outweigh downsides.

  • The benefits of competitive sports can be priceless, according to
    parents surveyed, who rate teaching values (67 percent), increasing
    confidence (41 percent) and getting regular exercise (36 percent) as
    top reasons they keep the kids involved.
  • Parents say the joy of watching a child excel in sports (66 percent)
    is their personal top benefit, followed by the bonding experience with
    a child (63 percent).
  • Only 26 percent of parents say they consider cutting back on their
    child’s sports activities.
  • Parents of adult athletes generally have no regrets (58 percent),
    though some would have tried to find a better balance between juggling
    debt, saving, and spending on sports (42 percent).

Parent or athlete, setting goals is a first step to achieving dreams

All across the world, parents and their aspiring athletes will be tuned
into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to cheer on elite athletes competing on
sport’s ultimate stage. More than 60 percent of parents of elite
athletes say their child has Olympic aspirations too, leaving parents
facing the tough task of maintaining realistic expectations without
discouraging their child from dreaming big.

“The decision to let your child play sports competitively is a personal
one,” says Lowe. “We invest time and money in order to fulfill our
dreams and aspirations, and in some cases, our biggest risk and regret
comes from not chasing the dream at all. Setting goals and putting a
plan into action are the first steps.”

TD Ameritrade has several goal planning tools and calculators to help
parents and other investors lay the groundwork for reaching financial
goals whether it’s sending children to college, buying a dream house or
retiring on a beach.

  • TD Ameritrade’s free Retirement
    scores an investor’s probability of having enough
    money in retirement1.
  • TD Ameritrade also offers complimentary goal planning sessions with an
    Investment Consultant to help individuals and families set investing
    goals and develop a detailed strategy to pursue them. In person or
    over the phone, TD Ameritrade professionals are available to help
    investors define their goals and create a plan.

To get started, visit
or call 866-551-6915.

TD Ameritrade has teamed up with U.S. Olympians to support and mentor
the “next generation” of athletes. Follow along with Olympic hopefuls
and the TD Ameritrade-sponsored U.S. Olympic athletes on social media
using the hashtag #likeyou. Or visit

For the latest news and information about TD Ameritrade, follow the
Company on Twitter, @TDAmeritradePR
or @TDAmeritrade

Survey methodology
A 15-minute online survey was conducted
by True North on behalf of TD Ameritrade, Inc. of 1,001 parents of
children of all ages between May 12 and May 17, 2016. Respondents were
30-60 years of age and parents of children who currently or previously
participated in competitive youth sports, defined as playing for highly
competitive or elite club teams run by a non-school organization. The
margin of error is +/-3%.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
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and education
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, TD
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as a leader
in investment services. Please visit TD Ameritrade’s newsroom
for more information.

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1The TD Ameritrade Retirement
: IMPORTANT: The projections or other
information generated by the Retirement Calculator regarding the
likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do
not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation


TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Kristin Petrick,
Communications & Public Affairs
Matson, 201-369-5933
Communications & Public Affairs