Tony Get Started

Olympic Dreams…or Retirement Nightmares?

With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio getting underway, a recent article caught my attention. Its title: Olympic dreams lead some parents to shortchange retirement savings.

The article shares the cost to parents and their retirement of spending money on youth sports in the hopes that their son/daughter will land a spot on an Olympic roster. The article estimates the cost of youth sports is, on average, $500 a month.

Now before we get too judgmental regarding all these parents spending all this money on little Johnnie, I have a confession to make: I was one of the parents. All three of my children, who are now adults, were hauled all over God’s creation by yours truly playing all sorts of sports and spending all kinds of money. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets, but I do question myself and whether it was the best use of my time and money because none of them (my kids) got to the Olympics, nor received a scholarship for their efforts.

My parents would have NEVER considered forking over $500 a month for me to play year round sports; would yours? Growing up as a kid in the 60s and 70s, I was excited when they made the tough decision to replace last years pair of Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes. During my childhood, sports was an obsession for me, but in reality, it was just something you did with your friends for the fun of it. And since there were no video games or cable TV back then, we had no reason to stay inside, so we went outside and played sports.

So, back to the cost of youth sports. Assuming you are one of these parents (or grandparents) this article is talking about, it is worth noting that instead of sinking $500 a month into the pit of youth sports, if you invested that same $500 a month at 5% interest over the next 20 years, you’d have a whopping $250,000 in your pocket to show for it.

That could buy a lot of Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes.