Office of the State Treasurer

Jeb Spaulding
Vermont State Treasurer

Treasurer Spaulding Thanks Jump$tart, U32 High School, the NFL and Visa for Their Support of Financial Literacy:

Patriots Players Coach Vermont Teens on Personal Finance

It was third down and six yards to go.

The team faced a tough challenge--could they identify a key difference between a Roth IRA and a standard IRA? The U32 High School athletes quickly consulted each other. The team then told State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding the correct answer: funds withdrawn at retirement from a Roth IRA were tax-free, but not for a standard IRA. Spaulding delivered the team’s answer to the moderator and they were rewarded with a first down. While not your traditional game of football, team play was just as intense, as Spaulding and the 21 student athletes competed in a game of “Financial Football” at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The December 11 event brought together high school teams from each New England state and their State Treasurers with New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and center Dan Koppen for a region-wide rollout of the game. Financial Football is an interactive, NFL-themed, money management video game that is part of a Visa/NFL financial education initiative. The event was the twelfth stop of this year’s national education campaign sponsored by Visa, the NFL and PLAYERS INC. The event also was sponsored by the national Jump$tart Coalition, including the Vermont coalition. The State Treasurer’s Office and Vermont Jump$tart will distribute free copies of the game to all high schools and middle schools in Vermont. “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.”

Above, (far left) wide receiver Wes Welker and center Dan Koppen join the U32 High School team and State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding to compete in a game of Financial Football.

The East Montpelier, Vermont high school competed against Bonny Eagle High School student athletes from Standish, Maine. A Patriots player joined each team, with the State Treasurer acting as team coach. To score points, a team must answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties cost a team yardage. Questions cover topics such as budgeting, investment, retirement, student loans, and basic economics. The short demonstration game ended in a 7-7 tie. “It doesn’t matter whether you make $1 or$1 million, if you don’t learn to budget, save, invest and pay your bills on time, the personal and national economic consequences can be devastating,” said Koppen, who urged the students to develop money management skills early. National statistics and surveys point to a need for high school students to develop knowledge and skills in personal finance. The National Jump$tart Coalition reports that in a comprehensive national written survey of 5,774 high school 12th graders, the average score on a test of basic personal finance was 52.4 percent--a failing grade. “In Vermont, our Jump$tart members have heard from teachers that they are concerned about the level of knowledge their students have in personal finance,” said Gregg Mousley, President of the Vermont Jump$tart Coalition. “The Financial Football event helps underscore the importance of teaching these skills.” Parents and teachers can access the Financial Football game through the Vermont State Treasurer’s web site by going to www.MoneyEd.Vermont.gov. A link to the game is available on the main financial literacy page or through the teacher and community resources page.

Vermont students wait for their Financial Football match-up to begin.