Parents Are Going Into Debt Because Of Their Kids’ Extracurricular Activities


Signing kids up for extracurriculars — from soccer to music lessons to ballet — is costing parents big time. In fact, according to a new survey, almost two-thirds of moms and dads (62%) have gone into debt to pay for those activities.

And for some, it’s not a small amount of debt. Almost one in 10 (9%) of those in debt owe more than $5,000, and 27% owe more than $3,000, according to the survey.

The tradeoff? Eight in 10 parents are hoping it will bring their kids extra income one day. surveyed more than 700 parents whose kids participate in other activities and found that the more money these parents spent, the more they thought it would pay off. Ninety percent of parents who spent at least $4,000 a year believed their kid would earn money from that activity — compared to 75% who spent less than $1,000 who said the same.

“They do hope that perhaps those efforts in terms of time and money may be rewarded with maybe a scholarship, or maybe a professional career,” Schulz said.

Vered DeLeeuw, a mom from the San Francisco Bay Area with two daughters now 17 and 19, figures she and her husband have spent about $20,000 on extracurricular activities. The dance, gymnastics and swimming, as well as Hebrew lessons, ran them about $1,000 or $2,000 a year.

“We live in an extremely competitive world, and it’s also a world where many parents feel that their kids are their most important investment and their proudest achievement,” DeLeeuw, who runs the Healthy Recipes blog, told MarketWatch. “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.”

As for the types of extracurriculars parents are investing in, sports were the most popular, according to 30% of parents who responded to the survey, with music coming in at a close second with 16%.


It’s good to see parents investing so much in their children. By spending so much on kids’ activities throughout their lives, however, parents should be careful to save just as much!

About the Author

Haley Velasco

Haley Velasco lives in New York City, where she works as a digital publishing editor at The Wall Street Journal. She also has written for The New York Times, USA Today, Life & Style and more. More.

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