Parents swim in debt to pay for hockey, education:...
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Nov 18, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Parents swim in debt to pay for hockey, education: study

New study shows nearly half of parents spend more on sports, music programs than on saving for post-secondary education

OurWindsor.Ca

What’s more important to Canadian parents: hockey or education?

Although the majority (69 per cent) believe every child should learn how to play hockey since it’s part of growing up Canadian, one in four parents say they or someone they know regret how much they’ve spent on it — with many going into debt to keep their kids on the ice, according to a new survey by research firm Leger.

Still, 46 per cent of parents surveyed say they or someone they know are spending more money to put a child in an extracurricular activity like hockey rather than saving for post-secondary education, typically through a Registered Education Savings Plan.

Close to half, or 49 per cent, of parents also report they are having trouble balancing the costs of pricey activities like sports and music lessons with saving for college or university, or know someone who is, says the second annual report Beyond the Blue Line.

The same percentage reported that they or someone they know must unfortunately pull their kids out of hockey and other after-school programs because they can’t afford the soaring costs.

“With the average university undergraduate tuition increasing to $5,959 in 2014/2015, and some families spending as much as $10,000 a year on hockey, it’s no wonder parents are having trouble managing the costs of both hockey and post-secondary education,” said Peter Lewis, vice president, CST Consultants Inc., an RESP provider that commissioned the report.

The results of the study also paint a troubling picture of the debt parents are incurring to give their children these after-school extras, he said.

Thirty-six per cent of parents say they or someone they know have borrowed money through a credit card, line of credit and personal or family loan to put a child in their favourite activities, down slightly from 38 per cent in 2013.

And 24 per cent of parents say they or someone they know are even deferring or using their retirement savings to do so, compared to 23 per cent last year.

Statistics Canada says household debt levels are approaching record highs and Canadians owe more than $1.63 for every $1 of disposable income.

“The message is loud and clear: parents are still struggling to score the right balance this winter when it comes to hockey and education,” says the report.

It also shows that 63 per cent of Canadians over 18 believe it’s important for parents to save for their child’s post-secondary education before spending money on hockey.

Lewis has some sage advice for moms and dads who are weighing what’s more important to their child’s future.

“Where do you see your child in 15 to 20 years? How are you helping them get there? If you don’t envision them becoming a professional hockey player, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities,” he said.

The online survey of 1,520 Canadians over 18, with a sample size of 441 parents with children under the age of 18, was conducted from November 3-6. The margin of error is within 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Toronto Star

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