The world of athletics is dynamic and exciting. For parents who raised children with the passion, drive, and inclination toward a particular sport, their world has likely been filled with early mornings, long drives, sweaty laundry, and big bills.
The financial implications of raising a child who loves sports can be challenging to navigate. Some fortunate families are able to see their children pursue sports in their college and even professional careers.
If the time comes that your child should receive a scholarship to play their respective sport in college, congratulations! That is an incredible feat that should be celebrated. But before rushing to accept an offer, take the time to consider the financial and personal implications that come with it.
Your financial advisor is an excellent person to turn to at this time and can work with you and your child to evaluate the offers and provide the education, insight, and confidence to help you make the best decision for your family. In general, advisors can do this in two distinct ways: financial and personal by exploring a few central questions.
How does the offer fit into your financial plan?
One of the most immediate benefits of a scholarship offer is the funding available to your student. Your financial advisor will help you look at the offer to see exactly what financial benefits are and are not available. This meeting will help you think through and answer some of the following questions:
- Does the school offer a full-ride scholarship? If not, how much will it cover?
- This will help you determine the financial responsibilities for both the school, your student, and potentially yourself. Most offers do not cover 100% of tuition costs, making it important to create a plan for the remaining costs such as taking out student loans or evaluating how much financial help, if any, you are able to give them for tuition and other educational expenses like books, access codes, and supplies.
- How does the financial commitment impact other savings goals?
- When it comes to your financial commitment to your child’s education, it is important that you be able to put that in context with your other financial priorities, namely retirement. Many parents sacrifice retirement savings to help fund their child’s education, but that can prove to be a costly mistake as there is no loan for retirement and your financial wellbeing is important.
- How does the offer fit into your long-term financial plan? What goals have you set and which offer will be best for you and your family to reach those goals?
- A scholarship for school can be a huge relief for many families. As you and your student take a look at the offers that come in, it can be easy to lose sight of your financial goals both short and long-term but even in the excitement, it is important to keep your eye on the prize.
A financial advisor will be able to not only see how the offer fits into your financial landscape, but also your personal lives, goals, dreams, and ambitions. This leads us to the second way a financial advisor can help in this situation.
Is the offer aligned with your and your child’s goals and values?
Remember, finances are just one piece of your financial plan. Your goals, values, and priorities make up a huge facet of how you use and manage the money you have. When evaluating an offer, it is equally important to see how the school’s values align with your own and set your child up for success. Let’s take a look at a few questions to help get you started.
- Does the odder resonate with the planning you and your family have done so far?
- Is the school a place that will help your child move to the next level in whatever academic field they decide to pursue?
- How does the school take care of its athletes? Are there tutoring programs and other educational processes to help them balance athletics and academics?
- Does the school align with yours and your child’s values? How would the experience they would get at one place be a better fit for them as opposed to another option?
As you think more about these questions, remember there is no right or wrong answer, just what is best for your child. You want to help set your child up for success and choosing a place that values them as a person and is invested in their success is a great way to do that.
How does it prepare your child for the future?
Fewer than 2% of student-athletes go on to play professionally, making a focus on education equally as important as the stadium that adorns the campus. As you look at the offers, be sure that you are focused on the one that set’s your child up for success after college as well. It is important to think critically about the longevity of the sport and have the foresight to plan ahead for life after graduation.
This is where long-term financial and personal goals come into play. These are so important to consider and your financial advisor will be able to help discuss these ideas in tandem to give you the information you need to make the most informed decision.
By including your financial planner in the mix, you will also set a precedent for your child to learn the value of a strong financial advisor. Especially for athletes, having a financial advisor you can trust and who has your best interests at heart is a rare gem at that. This will help instill the need for strong financial planning in their life, no matter what professional avenue they decide to pursue.
College is a formative time, so choosing the right place to go is an important decision that will help set the course for your child’s life. Especially for athletes, it is important to have a plan for finances and personal development in order to make the right choice. Working with an advisor can help you do both, setting you up for a future as bright as you can dream.