News Releases

December 13, 2007

Vermont State Treasurer Joins Patriots Players in Regional Launch of “Financial Football”

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tackling the challenge of financial illiteracy among Vermont teenagers, State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding December 11 joined state treasurers from throughout New England to announce the region-wide rollout of “Financial Football.” Spaulding and treasurers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island were joined by New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and center Dan Koppen to play the game with high schools teams from each state at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The interactive, NFL-themed, money-management video game is a Visa/NFL financial education initiative. The event also was sponsored by the national Jump$tart Coalition, including the Vermont coalition. The State Treasurer’s Office and the Vermont Jump start Coalition will distribute free copies of Financial Football to all high schools and middle schools in the state.

“National surveys continue to point to a need among our youth to acquire more knowledge of basic personal finances,” said Spaulding. “Financial Football is a fun way to encourage students to learn more about how to manage money. It’s critical that parents and teachers take the time to talk to students about how they can make wise financial decisions for a lifetime. This game is one way to start that conversation.”

At the event, the Patriots players shared their personal experiences on the importance of money management with students from U-32 High School in East Montpelier, Vermont and other New England High Schools. The students then divided into state teams to play each other in Financial Football.

“Helping students build strong financial muscles at an early age will them a real advantage when it comes to planning for their financial futures,” Welker said. “Managing money and finances is a vital life skill, and one that is best taught, and learned, before high school graduation.”

“I’m glad for the opportunity to teach New England students the importance of developing sound money-management skills early in life,” Koppen added. “It doesn’t matter whether you make $1 or $1 million, if you don’t learn to budget, save, invest and pay your bills on time, the personal and national economic consequences can be devastating.”

A new study released by Visa USA showed solid support for financial education to begin at home and extend to the classroom. The study showed 91 percent of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.

Financial Football puts students’ fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.

“In Vermont, our Jump Start members have heard from teachers that they are concerned about the level of knowledge their students have in personal finance,” said Gregg Mousley, President of the Vermont Jump Start Coalition. “As parents, talking to our children about personal finance and teaching them money management skills can easily be overlooked as we juggle increasingly busy lives. The event helps underscore the importance of teaching these skills.”

The National Jump Start Coalition reports that in a comprehensive national written survey of 5,775 high school 12th graders, the average score on a test of basic personal finance was 52.4 percent—a failing grade.

This event was the twelfth stop of this year’s national education campaign sponsored by Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC. The Financial Football game, already has been rolled out statewide in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Nevada. Since 2005, the computer game has been downloaded and played 100,000 times for free through www.practicalmoneyskills.com/football. The game is also now available through the Vermont State Treasurer’s web site within the financial literacy pages at www.MoneyEd.Vermont.gov. Earlier this year, Financial Football became a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.

“For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to assist the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office in its efforts to strengthen financial education in Vermont,” said Jason Alderman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Inc.

Source: Office of the State Treasurer
Last Updated at: December 17, 2007 11:28:05