Are You Financially Prepared to Raise an Athlete?

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By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor

There’s no denying that the cost of childhood athletics is expensive. And while you may not be raising an Olympic-caliber athlete, you know about the financial commitment. Expenses add up quickly, and it can be easy to lose track of the cost for your child to be on the team. What can you do to feel in control of athletic costs? Create a budget for each sport and season your child plays with these five expenses in mind:

1. Athletic training. Typically the largest sports-related expense is skills training and team building activities. You can anticipate these costs by adding up the price of each sports camp, specialty class and clinic your rising star may attend next season. If your child has an opportunity for private coaching or attending a workshop with friends, consider whether it makes sense financially.

2. Equipment. Trends in the sporting goods industry are constantly changing. So how often do you need to replace your child’s equipment, practice clothes and warm-ups? The right equipment—meaning it fits properly and meets safety standards—can prevent injury. If you’re unsure about whether you should replace it, get a recommendation from your child’s coach or an expert at your local sporting goods store.

3. Travel. Whether it’s a weekend game in a nearby town or an out-of-state tournament, travel is becoming more frequent in youth sports. Find out what travel is expected, so you can plan transportation, hotel rooms, meals and time off work.

4. Participation fees. In addition to team or school fees, there’s often pressure to purchase items commemorating the season. Custom t-shirts, embroidered equipment bags, team pictures and post-game celebrations can add up. Maintain an open dialogue with your children, so they know what items you’re comfortable purchasing.

5. Health care. Injuries become more common as athletes move into more competitive levels. Prepare by making sure you understand how your health care coverage applies to walk-in treatment, emergency care and preventive costs.

It’s challenging to put a price on supporting your child’s athletic talent, but it’s important to put the cost of athletics into perspective. If you know the true financial commitment of your child’s athletic season, you can feel confident that your level of investment makes sense for your child’s interest and talent as well as your budget.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at or call 703-492-7732.


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