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Kids’ Extracurriculars Are Bankrupting Parents

More activities = more money.


Soccer, Little League, piano lessons… all of the activities that your kids love add up fast. So fast, in fact, that many parents are actually going into debt trying to pay for their children’s extracurriculars, according to one study. surveyed 700 parents with young kids who participate in activities outside of school and found that 62 percent of them had gone into debt at some point to fund those extracurriculars, with one in three parents still paying off some of that debt. Of those, nearly one in 10 owe more than $5,000 and 27 percent owe more than $3,000.

“What the survey showed is, it’s not just sports parents who have these big dreams and big hopes for their sons and daughters; it’s music parents, it’s cheerleading parents, it’s debate team parents,” Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards, told MarketWatch.

While sports like soccer and baseball were the most common activities with 30 percent of those surveyed, music came in second at 16 percent followed by dance (15 percent) and gymnastics (12 percent).

And 48 percent of the parents who have spent more than they have on those activities don’t regret it. One mom explained to MarketWatch that she and her husband believe the $20,000 they spent on extracurricular activities for their two now-teenage daughters was a worthy investment albeit a sacrifice.

“We live in an extremely competitive world where many parents feel that their kids are their proudest achievement,” Vered DeLeeuw said. “I will do a lot to increase their chances of success. And extracurricular activities are part of that—of enriching them, giving them more tools, helping them develop into the best people they can possibly be.”

Many parents also are willing to spend so much on their kid’s activities because they think it will (literally) pay off in the end. Researchers found that eight out of 10 parents believe that their child’s extracurriculars will one day lead to more income or scholarship money.