Have you found yourself buying all sorts of equipment for musicians, sports, art supplies and the gazillion other interests for your kids? According to Huffington Post, the cost of raising a child born in 2013 exceeds $250,000. WOW! That number is nearly two percent higher than it was in the previous year. You want to support the kids and their passions, yet their desires change so frequently, keeping up is a challenge. We have a list of the most expensive sports they can play…just for informational purposes, of course! We don’t think you should discourage your child from any sport they have a passion for.
A lot can depend on the program you decide to partner with because some come with a high dollar price if they are private. We’re not discouraging them, just making sure you’re informed that community programs are generally more cost efficient for parents on a budget. Community supported programs have the backing of community members, which makes it a tad easier for Moms and Dads.
- Ice can crack, and ice hockey can crack your purse wide open! You need skates, hockey pants, pads for all body parts, mouth guards, caged helmets, gloves, and skating lessons. Membership league fees alone can run as high as $900. Great sport, great fun, and pricey all in one pretty package.
- Horses are some of the most beautiful beasts alive, and depending on the breed, you can plan to spend as much as $25,000 to get your horse. Vet fees are likely to add up to about $12,000 per year, and then you have stable fees, riding attire, helmets, plus saddles and equipment. A fabulous sport, with loving, and gorgeous animals, but keep your eyes on your wallet.
- Polo, by being played on horseback can cost even more money than becoming an equestrian. You need multiple horses as backups to ensure playtime.
- Football equipment at startup is going to exceed $200. Add in league fees per season of one to two hundred dollars. Travel to games out of town, practices, and there goes more winged money flying away.
- Ski boots, skis, helmets, clothing, and gloves are about a $500 deal, on gear alone. Lessons, lift tickets, travel fees to resorts, and this is an expensive investment. Especially if you have a fickle child that may or may not want to ski long term.
- Gymnastics seems harmless enough with lessons at a mere $20; however, if your child catches the feverish passion, plan to spend thousands.
If you have teenagers who are ready to drive, there are more sports that will take plenty of bucks to indulge in their loftier sports passions.
- Racing, Formula One, to be specific is going to take nearly $200,000 to get started. The drivers need to start in their early teens, and lock in a sponsor to ensure they can continue in the sport. In this case, you’re entering an expensive competition and a dangerous one that could incur injury or even death.
- Sailing isn’t expensive if you have a sail boat. Purchasing the boat, and finding a place to store it is where the money starts flowing out as fast as the incoming tides.
- The pentathlon is five sports in one, which is great for variety, bad for wallets. The five events are shooting, swimming, fencing, equestrianism, and cross country running. Need we say more? Bye Benjamin Franklins.
- Wind suiting is another dangerous sport; however, you need a way to get up in the air, hang around for a bit and then land safely on the ground. So, in a nutshell, insurance, and qualified pilots are the bank account killers for this exciting sport.
- Bobsleds are expensive and so is training, so that makes bobsledding another high dollar activity that will end up requiring a sponsor to help pay for participation.
- Hot air balloons have gotten highly technical with the latest technology to improve speeds for racing and navigational tools. Plus, you’ll need a storage facility for the balloon and basket.
- Ski jumping is life-threatening, and you need training, insurance, specialized ski equipment and a place to practice your jumps.
Obviously, we don’t want to discourage sports involvement. Just stay informed and abreast of the kids evolving interests and maybe you can steer them into sticking with a single sport, or at least one that is less costly to enter.
Save for College
You may be asking yourself if your money is more meaningful sitting in a 529 education savings plan account. That is a tough call, and many parents try to do both. It’s a good savings plan that allows you to make deposits tax free, and the caps are high. Taking the money you may spend on sports and putting it into this type of a savings plan could yield full college tuition in time for high school graduation. In the spirit of full disclosure, the top benefits of a 529 include:
- Significant federal tax breaks
- Some states also offer tax savings
- As the depositor, you retain complete control over the funds
- Minimal maintenance, set it up and forget it
- You can deposit up to $14,000 per year (double that if you’re a married couple filing jointly), and you qualify for the yearly gift tax exclusion
- There are limits on lifetime contributions that change based on your chosen plan; however, they can be up to $500,000
- If you need a break on estate taxes, you may contribute up to $70,000 to count towards a tax exclusion
- Everyone is eligible
- You’re allowed to change your account investment options twice per year
Some of the best performing, lowest fee accounts include:
- New York’s 529 College Savings Plan
- Merrill Lynch
- College Advantage
- Mefa Ufund
- Michigan Education Savings Program
- Nevada College Savings Plan
- TNStars College Savings 529 Program
- Smart 529 Collect
- College Savings Bank
- College Choice CD 529 Savings Plan
- College Counts 529 Program
- T Rowe Price College Savings Plan
- Private College 529 Plan
In most cases, you don’t need to live in the sponsoring state, and you can open an account online and set up automatic deposits from your hometown bank. It really can’t be easier! Also, some of these plans are currently yielding double-digit returns in the first year. That is an incredible return when you consider that the old statement savings account is paying less than one percent interest now.
You know both sides of this money story. Both are good, and there is nothing wrong with either decision. It’s up to you and your kids how you want to proceed. The catch? We want to know your thoughts below, so tell us how you’re spending or saving below in the comments section.