Funding Olympic-sized dreams without losing sleep

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With the Winter Olympics around the corner, Americans will be captivated by the stories of athletes’ tireless pursuits to reach their ambitions, many of them starting at a young age. The sacrifices are evident in a recent study that reveals the average American family spends hundreds or thousands of dollars each year to support their children’s activities.

Youth activities are big business in America, and the cost of pursuing a child’s dream can add up quickly. About 20 percent of parents spend more than $2,500 a year and almost 40 percent spend more than $1,000 annually on sports, dance, arts and other extracurricular activities. 

Parents make trade-offs to help children’s dreams come true. They sacrifice dining out (42%), shopping (35%), vacations (29%), retirement savings (21%), other savings (25%), paying off debt (27%) and upgrading their car (23%).

Is it worth the sacrifice? Many parents think so, according to the survey. The top reasons parents fund their youngsters’ ambitions include building character, keeping them physically active, sharing the love of a sport/activity and helping their child meet new friends.

“When you consider activity fees, lessons, team costs, equipment and travel, thousands of dollars annually rack up for the average parent who is backing their child’s talent,” said Debbie Crowder, head of Branch and Premier Banking at SunTrust. “A budget and savings plan, along with a review of other household expenses that may be reduced, can help parents sleep easier knowing their kids’ dreams won’t derail the family budget.”

SunTrust introduced “Saving for Your Dreams” to inspire parents to plan and save. The campaign will run during Winter Olympics programming with a TV spot featuring 11-year-old figure skater Elise Freezer who demonstrates the magic of what happens when you believe in yourself.

The ad directs consumers to resources to learn how to save for their children’s dreams and remain financially confident. In addition to savings calculators and budgeting tools, also featured are inspirational infographics, such as "For today's young athletes, it's pay to play," and The onUp Challenge – a gamified experience that helps players make real progress toward financial goals.

“Since we launched onUp, a movement to advance financial confidence in America, more than 2.7 million people have taken steps to gain control of their finances,” said Susan Somersille Johnson, SunTrust chief marketing officer. “‘Saving for Your Dreams’ is an invitation for more Americans to join the movement as they consider how to reach their own dreams. As a purpose-driven bank, we’re committed making that happen.”

Survey Methodology:

The survey was conducted online within the United States by MaritzCX on behalf of SunTrust Banks, Inc. from Jan. 20-22, 2018, among 979 U.S. adults ages 18 and up, among whom 507 spend money on activities for their children such as sports, dance, arts and other extracurricular activities.

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