To many football fans, someone like Ryan Broyles, wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, is living the dream. He signed a four-year contract for $3,678,500, which, in case you didn’t know, is a lot of money. But many would be surprised to learn that Broyles lives on $60,000 per year. What’s he do with the rest of the money? He saves and invests it, of course, including contributions to the NFL’s matching 401(k).
Being a financially literate football player is important – even though they make millions of dollars, professional football players can find themselves wasting most of it. One study found that 16% of professional football players were bankrupt within twelve years of retirement.
That’s one reason you’ll find Broyles promoting a game called Financial Football. Created by Visa and the NFL, Financial Football lets you play as your favorite team as you attempt to score touchdowns by answering financial questions. Answer wrong and you’ll lose yards, answer correctly and you’ll gain them.
Financial Football allows you to play at three different levels, depending on your age, making it a great way to test your financial knowledge whether you’re making a salary or an allowance. Starting as young as eleven, kids can become financially literate while playing the game they love. The hardest mode is for adults eighteen and older.
I played a full game – four quarters at five minutes each – and my team, the New York Giants, ended up beating the New York Jets 19 to 0. While you’re playing, you get a choice between easy, medium, and hard questions, and the hard questions can be legitimately difficult, even for a personal finance blogger. (Though it does seem obvious that, as a renter, I’d find the mortgage questions difficult.)
Broyles learned by talking "to people wealthier than [him], smarter than [him]," and with his efforts promoting financial literacy in schools in Washington, D.C., it’s clear that he hopes kids will listen to an NFL player and take his lesson seriously.
Looking to get started on your own journey to financial literacy? Check out our guide to building your own personal finance class online.