During the coverage of the Olympics in London, the cost to families of having a child who becomes an Olympic Athlete has received considerable coverage. The struggles Natalie Hawkins, mother of Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, who sought chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and the mortgage foreclosure situation faced by Steven and Ileana Lochte, parents of gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte have earned recent attention from the national media.
These two families are not the only two families in America that are facing financial difficulties and have children with unique and special talents. Developing your child’s talents can be expensive and the costs can be hidden. Having your child fully participate in any activity can cost a lot of money. As an example: A baseball player needs shoes, bat, glove, uniform; a boy scout needs a uniform, tent, backpack and fees; a golfer needs clubs and shoes just to begin involvement. But these costs are just the beginning.
In most activities at an accelerated level there are the additional costs of:
1. Registration Fees for the tournament or activity.
2. Gas and Vehicle expenses to get to and from practice and Games;
3. For weekend activities a family may travel a far distance for a tournament or meeting requiring a hotel/motel room and money spent dining out;
4. Missed time from work and a possible decrease in earned income.
As the father of two children I know that when a child shows an interest in an activity I want to do everything possible to make that happen. However, as a bankruptcy attorney, that desire is tempered by knowing that creditors will not give you a break on payments because your child is a budding musician.
In order to prevent your finances from getting out of balance and you having to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy it is important to strike a balance between nurturing children and maintaining a realistic budget. The vast majority of parents are not raising a child who will get an endorsement deal from Nike or featured on a video game.
As that is not likely to happen families need to keep in mind the costs of a teen driver, college, and the possible demands of a Princesses like wedding.
Good luck to all with the challenges of being a parent in the modern world!