Family Budget Talks: The Cost of a Child’s Hobby

Having a child is expensive. The cost of everything from baby food and diapers, to braces and college tuition is an intimidating number for even the biggest family budget. As a child grows, new expenses inevitably arise and what may initially seem like a small investment in their interests and hobbies can turn into a very expensive habit, very quickly. In this true story of the world’s 631st best tennis player, it becomes painfully clear that our children’s interests and hobbies need to be a part of a family budget conversation, with a fair amount of financial planning.

Eric and Melanie Rubin raised their son Noah Rubin around tennis. In fact, they bought his first tennis racket before he was even born in 1996. The Wilson junior racket cost $24.99 and was only the start of a very expensive habit. Eric told Bloomberg that their son has gone, “through hundreds of rackets. We’d buy five to six rackets at a time at $250 per racket. There were times I was unemployed, so it was a problem. I borrowed from my parents a ton.” The cost of lessons, tournament entry fees, clothing, and travel expenses quickly skyrocketed as well, costing the Rubin family several thousands of dollars. In fact, “the total cost for attending tournaments reached about $40,000 a year.”

The “British Lawn Tennis Association estimates it costs about $385,000 to develop a player from ages 5 to 18. The U.S. Tennis Association estimated in 2010 that the annual average cost to a be a highly competitive professional tennis player was $143,000.” While the potential rewards for success in the tennis world are extraordinarily high, roughly the top hundred players are the only ones breaking even. Noah is ranked number 631 on the men’s ATP tour—clearly talented, but a long way from professional tennis wealth.

While not every family has the Rubin family budget, and not every parent aspires to create the next big tennis champion, children develop hobbies and hobbies do come with costs. It’s fiscally responsible to consider what your child’s interests are, and make them part of the family budget conversation. Whether it’s football or painting, musical instruments or fencing, hobbies come with costs. Finding the right balance between encouraging your child to pursue their interests and maintaining your family’s finances can be tricky. Speaking to a financial advisor can help you factor your family’s hobbies in to your family budget. Call an advisor at Apex Financial Advisors today to get started.