'Financial football' kicks off in Hawaii


POSTED: Thursday, February 05, 2009

Farrington High School students played “;financial football”; yesterday with members of the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers as part of a statewide launch of a national money management program for Hawaii students.


;[Preview] Video Game Teaches Hawaii Students About Financial Strategies

Students tested a game at Farrington high school where a video game teaches students how to save money by combining football and finances.

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  New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis spoke about their personal finance experiences and played the interactive video game with about 30 students at the Farrington library to encourage them to save their money and live within their means.

Hawaii is the 21st state to roll out the free interactive computer program that teaches students the dangers of debt and importance of managing money - a skill particularly critical in the severe economic downturn.

The program was created by Visa Inc., the National Football League and the NFL Players Association.

“;Financial literacy is not a core subject in the (Department of Education),”; said Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona, who distributed the game that teaches about financial terms - including IRAs, compounded interest and various loan terms - to 169 local high schools and libraries this week. “;This fills that void. It educates young people and gives them the knowledge so they don't run the risk of bad debt.”;

The multiple choice game combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial questions that vary in difficulty. The goal is to answer correctly a series of money management questions to score touchdowns; wrong answers can lead to penalties and lost yardage. The team with the most points after four quarters wins.

“;It's beneficial for me because I'm going into the real world after high school,”; said Farrington High School senior Paul Kama, 18. “;I've got to learn to save my money.”;

Brandy Vergado-Duclayan, 17, said: “;This reminded me of what my parents say that I should really use my money wisely.”;

The volume of collection accounts for bank loans and credit card debt rose 10 percent to 15 percent year-over-year in 2008 for local attorney Marvin Dang, who represents Visa. In addition, home foreclosures increased by at least a third to 50 percent, he said.

“;It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions,”; Willis said. “;If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay bills on time, the consequences can be devastating.”;

Welker's advice to the students was to try to save 10 percent of their income and “;make sure to put away substantial amounts for rainy days ahead.”;

The computer game, which is available online at, is accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can be downloaded free on cell phones by texting the word Visa to 24421.