Athletic Teenagers Help you Save for Retirement

By: Penny Hastings

Wouldn’t it be great if you could save more money for retirement and worry less about how you’re going to put your kids through college? But how can you when the spiraling cost of a college education are enough to send you into a panic. It could cost as much as $74,000 at a public institution and twice that at a private university for a student entering college in the fall 0f 2008. No wonder parents stress out wondering how they are going to afford it. And, no wonder they put their plans for retirement saving on hold until they know how much they will have to spend on their kids’ educations.

An answer to your problems might be right under your nose…or practicing hook shots in the driveway.

Over 1.2 billion is awarded each year in college athletic scholarships, according to Penny Hastings and Todd Caven, authors of the newly released 3rd edition of “How To Win A Sports Scholarship” (Redwood Creek Publishing, 2007, $24.95, www.winaportsscholarship.com). Best of all, athletic kids don’t have to be superstars to get a sports scholarship. Instead, scholarships are awarded to better-than-average athletes who also have good grades.

But, a sports scholarship, awarded to talented high school and 2-year college student-athletes, can cut the cost of tuition, room and board and other expenses…and in some cases pay for it all!

Who gets sports scholarships? According to Hastings and Caven, it is proactive student-athletes who jump-start the recruiting process without waiting for coaches to notice them. They learned from experience when Caven was a high school soccer player who wanted to continue on at the college level. He wondered if he was good enough to compete at that level and how coaches would know about him in the agricultural-based area of Northern California where he lived.

He and his mom, Penny Hastings, talked to many coaches and guidance counselors and searched the libraries for information…but, they found only bits and pieces…nothing that gave them the answers they sought. So, they developed their own game plan, whereby Caven selected colleges he thought he might be interested in. He wrote to the soccer coaches at each school, introducing himself and indicating his interest in their school.

To his surprise, he was contacted and interest shown in him by every one of those coaches. Sifting through the information they sent him about the colleges and their teams brought him to a reasonable list (he sent out 30 introductory letters!) Ultimately, he was offered four scholarships and took the one from prestigious Stanford University, where he played soccer on scholarship and graduated in four years with a degree in economics.

“I received a fantastic education for a fraction of the cost and played the game I love, too,” says Caven. In the meantime, Hastings was able to save money for her own retirement, something that many parents aren’t able to do when they’re busy paying for their kids’ college costs.

They wrote the book “How To Win A Sports Scholarship” after Caven graduated. While at Stanford he learned how college coaches recruit athletes, and he and Hastings decided to write a book to teach other parents and their student-athletes, about the recruiting process and how they can maximize their chances of success.

“Don’t sit back and wait,” advises Caven. “Start the recruiting process yourself or you will probably be left sitting on the bench.”

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