Honolulu, HI - February 4, 2009 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Hawai`i teenagers head-on, Hawai`i Lieutenant Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr. and Visa Inc. today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Lt. Governor Aiona will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football" - an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme - to every high school and public library in Hawai`i.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, "Financial Football" helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
Lt. Governor Aiona kicked off this new financial literacy campaign today at Farrington High School with help from Visa officials, New England Patriots All-Pro Wide Receiver Wes Welker and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Linebacker Patrick Willis. Welker and Willis shared their personal experiences on the importance of money management with students from Farrington High School. Lt. Governor Aiona, Welker and Willis then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football."
"High school kids need to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce," said Welker. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."
"It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions," added Willis. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay bills on time, the consequences can be devastating."
"We are very proud to join this national effort to promote the importance of personal finance education in schools," Lt. Governor Aiona said. "This effort helps our young people make more sense of money and to plan more realistically for their financial futures."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a recent study released by Visa shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Lt. Governor Aiona hope "Financial Football" can help Hawai`i teens do just that. Available online at www.hawaii.financialfootball.com , "Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.
Today's event is part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, now in its fourth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with twenty-one states to distribute "Financial Football" to every high school in those states, including Hawai`i. The other states are West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Florida and Arizona.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to have Wes Welker and Patrick Willis with us as we assist Lt. Governor Aiona in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Hawai`i," said Nancy Panter, manager of public relations, Visa Inc.
"Financial Football" is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program that guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Hawai`i Lt. Governor Aiona
First elected to public office in 2002 as Hawai`i's 11th Lt. Governor, Duke Aiona has led the fight against crime and illegal drugs while working to strengthen Hawai`i's families. He is a former city attorney and family-court judge. Lt. Governor Aiona and Governor Linda Lingle became Hawai`i's first Republican Administration to win a second term in the history of the state.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html