Written by 8:30 am Raising Competitors

Is It Really Worth Your Retirement?

TD Ameritrade recently published a study on the financial impact youth sports are having on parents’ retirement funds. As most of you know, the costs to play continue to rise for families each year. Some of the study highlights include:

  • 27% of parents spend $500+ each month on youth sports
  • Parents are taking fewer vacations (36%) or working a second job (19%) to pay for their child’s youth sports career
  • 34% of parents believe their child will go pro or to the Olympics (Only 5% of parents’ kids have actually gone pro).

There are thousands of parents (some that you might know) trading years of their retirement in order for their kid to go pro in sports.

This is what we call a bad investment.

Notice, I didn’t say that investing in your child is a bad investment. I said investing your retirement to your child’s professional sports career is.

41% of Dads believe their kid will go pro in a sport…and 20% of all parents believe their child is getting a college scholarship.


The article goes on to show how many people are delaying their retirement due to getting their kid to go pro.

I can’t even imagine the amount of pressures put on the kid by parents with this. The parents are trading their financial security for something that has less than a 10% chance of success (college), and much less going pro.

How Many Play in College?

Here are the percentages of high school athletes who go on to play in college. Note: this is at any level in college, not just Division-I.

  • Baseball – 11.5% (Only 2.1% play Division-I)
  • Men’s Basketball – 5.6% (0.9%)
  • Football – 8.4% (2.5%)
  • Hockey – 10.5% (3.7%)

Now Who Goes On to Play Pro?

Reviewing that small pool of college athletes, how many actually go on to play pro? As you can imagine, the percentages continue to shrink. This doesn’t even factor how many actually make it when they go pro, as I believe these numbers include players who never make a final Opening Day roster or rise out of the minor league systems.

  • Baseball – 9.8%  (0.8% of all high school players)
  • Men’s Basketball – 1.2% (0.07%)
  • Women’s Basketball – 0.9%
  • Football – 1.6% (0.1%)
  • Men’s Hockey – 6.9% (0.7%)

Betting On a Less than 1% Chance of Success

There are hundreds of benefits to your child participating in sports throughout their youth. But sacrificing your retirement plans for it, probably isn’t one of them.

  • It’s ok if your child doesn’t play their sport year-round.
  • It’s ok if your child doesn’t get a Division-I scholarship.
  • It’s ok if your child doesn’t go pro.

None of that reflects on you as a parent, and isn’t the whole reason we wanted our kids to play sports in the first place was so they could learn communication, teamwork, leadership, and grit?

You know, the skills that matter more in life than how well they dribble?

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