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The Cost of Youth Sports: Should You Invest in a 529 Plan?

Parents consider enrolling their children in sports as an opportunity to promote wellness, teamwork, and perseverance. However, as with any activity, there are costs involved.

The expenses of youth sports can add up quickly, making it one of the most significant expenses for parents. In this article, we examine the most expensive sports for kids and whether it’s better to pay for sports or invest in a 529 plan.

Most Expensive Sports for Kids

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is an expensive sport. The cost of equipment, such as skates and pads, can run into the thousands of dollars.

Additionally, the fees for joining a team, transportation, and accommodation for a tournament can add up. However, for some parents, the expense is worth it, and the sport is an excellent way for kids to stay physically active and learn important skills such as teamwork and leadership.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is an activity that requires considerable investment. The cost of buying a horse can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Stabling fees and maintenance can also be costly. Nevertheless, for many families, the sport is not only a form of exercise but also an opportunity to develop a relationship with their horse.


Football is one of the most popular sports in the US. However, it’s also among the most expensive.

Football gear such as helmets, shoulder pads, and cleats can add up to hundreds of dollars, and the cost of joining a league and traveling to games can be significant. Despite this, many parents support their kids’ love of football because of the significant physical and mental benefits it provides.


Skiing is another sport that comes with a high price tag. The cost of gear such as skis, boots, and goggles, plus the cost of lift tickets and lessons, can quickly add up.

Nevertheless, skiing is an excellent way to stay active, and the beauty of winter landscapes can be truly breathtaking.


Finally, gymnastics is a sport that requires a significant investment in specialized equipment, such as mats and bars, as well as travel expenses, coaching fees, and performance attire. Despite the expense, many parents consider gymnastics to be an excellent way to promote agility, flexibility, and confidence.

Paying for Sports vs.

Investing in a 529 Plan

The Cost of Youth Sports

According to a study conducted by the National Youth Sports Strategy, the average family spends about $2,000 per year on youth sports. This amount does not include the significant time commitment that is required of both parents and children, as well as the parental stress associated with managing schedules and finances.

The cost of youth sports can cause a financial strain on many families, resulting in drained savings accounts and even debt.

Investing in a 529 Plan

One strategy that parents can consider is investing in a 529 plan instead of paying for youth sports. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

One of the biggest advantages of a 529 plan is that contributions are tax-free, and the withdrawal of the funds is tax-free as well. The contribution caps of these accounts are often quite high, allowing families to save a significant amount over time.


In conclusion, the costs of youth sports can be significant, but the benefits can outweigh the expenses. For parents struggling to manage the financial burden of youth sports, investing in a 529 plan can be a good option.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to keep in mind that participating in sports or investing in a 529 plan are both excellent ways to help children develop critical skills and prepare for a bright future.Participating in sports can be an excellent way for kids to stay active, build character and learn new skills. However, the cost of sports can vary widely depending on a range of factors.

In this article, we explore some of the factors that affect the cost of sports for kids. Additionally, we also examine the benefits of saving in a 529 Plan.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Sports for Kids

Age of Participation

The age of participation is a crucial factor in determining the cost of sports. Children outgrow equipment at an alarming rate, and this replacement adds to the cost of sports.

Younger children require less specialized equipment than older children. Also, younger children tend to participate in more affordable sports, such as soccer and baseball.

As kids get older, they tend to move into more expensive sports such as ice hockey, football, or gymnastics. Community Programs vs.

Private Organizations

Community sports programs tend to be less expensive than private sports organizations. However, the level of coaching and the quality of equipment may not be the same.

The community programs not only offer a more affordable option but also cultivate strong community connections that can be invaluable to children. On the other hand, private sports organizations that offer more specialized training may come with a premium price tag.

If your children display a keen interest in a sport and you are willing to invest money in their development, a private organization may be an excellent option.

Level of Commitment

The level of commitment that parents and children are willing to put into sports plays a significant role in determining the total cost. The cost of long-term training, professional coaching, and registration fees can add up quickly.

If parents are willing to invest in their children’s athletic future, there’s a higher likelihood that more money will go into equipment, travel, and coaching.

Benefits of Saving in a 529 Plan

Foster Your Child’s Development

Saving in a 529 plan can help your child develop into a well-rounded individual. Participating in higher education is associated with an array of benefits, such as increased focus, a higher level of self-esteem, and better job prospects.

Moreover, it instills a sense of dedication and perseverance that is highly beneficial to children. Saving early in a 529 plan can ensure that by the time your child is ready for higher education, the funds will be readily available.

Financial Planning

A 529 plan is a valuable financial planning tool for parents. Saving in a 529 Plan can take the guesswork out of planning for college costs.

By regularly depositing funds into a 529 plan, parents can rest assured that there will be sufficient funds available for the child’s higher education. Even better is the contribution cap, as the amount allowed to be deposited into these accounts is often quite high, which can make saving for college less stressful for parents.


The cost of sports and higher education can be a significant expense for many families. However, with careful planning and a sound investment strategy, parents can navigate these costs smoothly.

Choosing community programs or private organizations, paying attention to the level of commitment, and investing in a 529 plan are all critical factors in ensuring that your children will have the tools they need to succeed, regardless of their chosen path.Youth sports offer valuable opportunities for children to stay active, develop teamwork skills, and learn to cope with defeat. However, the cost of participation can add up quickly, and parents should be aware of the potential expenses involved.

In this article, we examine the average cost of youth sports, including sports-related expenses, basic necessities, and statistics compiled by sources such as MSNBC.

Sports-Related Expenses

The average cost of youth sports varies depending on a range of factors, including the sport, the child’s age, and the level of competition. However, according to a survey conducted by the National Youth Sports Strategy, the average family spends around $2,000 per year on youth sports.

This sum includes registration fees, gear, and travel expenses.

Basic Necessities

Youth sports are just one of the many expenses that come with raising a child. A 2014 report by the US Department of Agriculture estimates that the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $243,900 for a middle-income family.

Additionally, this sum does not include college tuition or sports-related expenses.

MSNBC Statistics

According to MSNBC, the cost of youth sports averages at around $2,000 per year. However, in addition to these costs, parents should also consider potential expenses such as ongoing equipment and uniform replacement, private coaching fees, and travel expenses for out-of-town tournaments.

This sum may seem like a significant burden for some families, but it’s essential to consider the significant benefits that children gain from participating in youth sports.


In conclusion, participation in youth sports can be a significant expense for parents, but the benefits of participation are well worth it. Sports provide children with opportunities to develop important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and perseverance.

While the cost of sports can vary widely depending on a range of factors, it’s important to keep in mind that investing in our children’s development is one of the most valuable things we can do. With careful planning and budgeting, parents can ensure that their kids can participate in sports while also covering all the basic necessities of life.

Participating in youth sports offers valuable opportunities for children to stay active, develop teamwork skills and learn to cope with failure. However, the cost of these activities can cause a strain on parents’ finances, with the average annual cost being approximately $2,000 per child.

Despite this, investing in sports can cultivate critical skills. Saving in a 529 plan can help families plan financially for future educational costs, allowing them to reap the maximum benefits of participation in youth sports.

In general, parents should consider carefully budgeting and balancing the costs of sports and fundamental necessities while investing in their children’s development. Remembering this balance will lead to the best outcome.

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