ContactsClose X

Corporate Headquarters
200 South 108th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68154

All Contacts

Investor Relations

All Contacts

Media relations line

Client Services

All Contacts

Corporate Headquarters
200 South 108th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68154

All Contacts

Client Services

All Contacts

Client Services

All Contacts

Press Release Details

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

August 1, 2016

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

OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A new TD 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.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:

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 pro

"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 coaching to keep them on the right track.”

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

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 Calculator™ 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
Millions of investors and independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) have turned to TD Ameritrade’s (Nasdaq: AMTD) technology, people and education to help make investing and trading easier to understand and do. Online or over the phone. In a branch or with an independent RIA. First-timer or sophisticated trader. Our clients want to take control, and we help them decide how — bringing Wall Street to Main Street for more than 40 years. An official sponsor of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, TD Ameritrade has time and again been recognized as a leader in investment services. Please visit TD Ameritrade’s newsroom or for more information.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA ( (

1The TD Ameritrade Retirement Calculator™: 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 results.

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

Kristin Petrick, 402-574-6569

Communications & Public Affairs


Melissa Matson, 201-369-5933

Communications & Public Affairs

Latest updates

TD Ameritrade 200 South 108th Avenue Omaha, NE 68154