NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION EXPANDS AWARD WINNING FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Washington, DC– The NFL Players Association announced today that it is expanding its financial education program for players and former players, adding an unbiased Financial Helpline service to help them make more informed financial decisions and provide a second opinion on investment strategies and recommendations from their financial advisors.
The addition comes on the heels of two industry awards for the program’s effectiveness at helping players develop better financial skills: a Signature Award from the Plan Sponsor Council of America and a Superstars and Innovator Awards from The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism. The awards mark a major milestone for the organization, which is dedicated to helping players make an effective transition from football into careers after football, something that can be a significant challenge since most players end up making the majority of their lifetime income in their early 20s, with a lot of pressure to live an extravagant lifestyle.
In 2009, the NFLPA partnered with Financial Finesse, the leading provider of workplace financial education programs, to design and deliver a customized online financial education platform for players and their families, along with workshops and webcasts designed to build awareness around the importance of financial responsibility. The program was a new way to address an age-old problem—leveraging social media and multi-media through videos, podcasts, personalized assessments, and contests all designed to engage players in a web 2.0 strategy designed to appeal to the Millennial Generation.
The results were groundbreaking, with over 1,000 players participating in the program, most engaging on an ongoing basis, and 48% saving at least 20% of their annual earnings in preparation for a potential lockout in 2011 based on the results of a lockout preparedness assessment. The preparation paid off—enabling players to stand united in negotiations with the NFL, knowing they had the savings to withstand a prolonged lockout. According to DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, the program played a more central role in preparing players than he ever could have imagined and was one of the key reasons the organization was able to successfully negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that protected the players’ best interest.
Smith adds that he is particularly proud of the players, who not only prepared themselves well financially going into negotiations, but have been able to parlay the progress they made saving for a lockout into other areas of finances. Normally you see increased focus and urgency during a crisis and then a drop off when things have resolved. “What we’ve realized is that players have competitive personalities and when they set their mind to something, whether it’s winning a game or building their wealth, they become very focused individuals.”
Dana Hammonds, Director of Player Affairs and Development echoes Smith’s sentiments but stresses that there is more to be done and that the NFLPA will continue to broaden and deepen its reach to further help players achieve long-term financial security. “We want players to have the ongoing support they need to make solid financial decisions for themselves and their families,” says Hammonds. “The Financial Helpline is our next step in this ongoing mission to reach players by providing them with direct access to an expert they know they can trust in a convenient way to get answers to tough financial questions and make more informed decisions that impact their futures.”
She adds: “There are still far too many players who fall victim to predatory lending, fraud, and of course, over-spending. It’s easy to dismiss how much players need education since they do make very high salaries. But that misses the mark. Imagine the challenges we’d face as a society if most Americans made the majority of their income from ages 22-25, without the proper financial guidance or education to know how to manage that income, and with massive temptations all around to ‘live the dream’. The challenges are immense, and will take significant time and resources to combat. That’s why we are so committed to this issue, and why we are actively expanding our efforts in this area.”
Financial Finesse is an unbiased financial education company providing personalized and
innovative financial education and counseling programs to over 500,000 employees at over 400
organizations. Financial Finesse partners with organizations to reach goals such as reducing
fiduciary liability, increasing plan participation, decreasing stress, and increasing productivity
through its unique approach to financial education. Financial Finesse does not sell products nor
manage assets. For more information, visit www.financialfinesse.com .