As Super Bowl Nears, FINRA, NFL Tackle Issue of Financial Planning for Players

Joint project helps players make informed financial decisions and avoid fraud

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While many players for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will be at the pinnacle of their careers this Super Bowl Sunday, they will all eventually grow old and retire, whether after a long career or, more likely, an injury-shortened one.

That’s why the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the National Football League announced Jan. 21 that they were working together to help incoming NFL players spot and avoid investment fraudand begin their playing careers by making informed financial decisions.

“We are pleased to be working with the FINRA Foundation to provide our prospective players with the tools to build a solid financial future," said Adolpho Birch, NFL senior vice president of labor policy and player development, in a statement. "It's never too early to learn, and I am pleased that, together with NFL Security, we will be able to reach these players and their families at this important time in their lives."

Football players have been in the headlines a lot recently, and the news is not just in the sports pages. Stories about the risk of brain concussions, former players living in poverty and outreach programs for players seeking health care and disability benefits have all contributed to concerns about how America’s

favorite sport may be damaging the players who appear so invincible on the field. As a result, the NFL is seriously looking at how to protect players—physically, mentally and financially.

Under the FINRA-NFL partnership, players will learn how to choose the right financial professional and how to do a background check. Players also will learn about the risks of taking on debt.

Prospective NFL players and their families received information about the FINRA-NFL joint program at the East/West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 22 and the Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 29.

"It is critically important that players make informed financial decisions at the beginning of their careers," said Rick Ketchum, chairman of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, in the statement. "Working with the NFL, we hope to reach these players and give them the information and insight they need to avoid financial pitfalls."

The FINRA Foundation presented its Outsmarting Investment Fraud curriculum at both events to players and their parents. It included an explanation of the psychological persuasion tactics that con artists use to get their victims to make emotional rather than logical investment decisions. The curriculum delivered at the NFL events has been tested and shown to reduce susceptibility to investment fraud by over 50% among participants, according to an NFL-FINRA joint release.

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