Invesco QQQ Unveils ‘How Not To Suck Money’ Digital Finance Education Platform

For Grant Hill’s 18th birthday, the Duke University freshman basketball player and some of his teammates went to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner with Hill’s dad, Calvin.

Over dinner, a hypothetical question arose: What would you do with $ 1 million?

Wanting to impress his father, Grant responded by saying he would spend half, then put the rest in the bank and live off his savings. He thought it was a decent plan, until Calvin asked him about taxes.

“I had no idea what he was talking about,” said Grant Hill, part owner of the Atlanta Hawks and 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. “I was embarrassed to say that. It really left me stumped there.

While he has certainly deepened his financial knowledge, interests and knowledge since, many student and student-athletes continue to grapple with similar questions. Invesco QQQ, the official ETF of the NCAA, hopes to level the playing field with its new digital finance education platform: How Not To Suck The Money.

Launched on November 8, the NCAA’s official free-to-play, mobile financial education program involves choice-based play, providing players with an interactive learning experience based on real-world financial situations. Users learn about budgeting, credit building, investing, moving and more as they encounter and solve various financial dilemmas while navigating a 3D semi-surreal college town.

The total experience is around 90 minutes, and users can play at their own pace in 10-minute intervals. Upon completion, students receive a playbook and a LinkedIn certificate to feature on their profile.

Artist / illustrator Jose Mendez, who has worked with brands such as Apple and Converse, developed the visual style and tone for the program, while the content was briefed by Brian Levitt, Invesco’s global market strategist. . Development of the platform was supported by feedback from 1,500 students and insights from an advisory board made up of current and former student-athletes and student-athlete advocates including Grant Hill, Jessica Mendoza, Swin Cash, Amy Rodriguez Shilling, Jaylon Smith and Nick. Juran.

“College is a really pivotal moment. I have a college-aged son and the decisions he makes right now, whether we like it or not, shape his future, ”said Emily Pachuta, director of marketing and analytics for the Americas at Invesco. “Not everyone comes from an environment where their parents can educate them about finances, and even if they could, most children don’t listen to their parents.

“It was really important to reach them. I don’t just want to reach them through social media, but we really do reach them. That meant we couldn’t just take something out of PowerPoint or off the shelf and paste it in front of a student, so we had to speak in their vernacular, really.

Nearly nine in ten students did not participate in a financial literacy program without credit, with the majority citing lack of availability as the main barrier, according to a study by Invesco QQQ and independent market research firm Zeldis Research Associations. .

For this reason, only 36% of students surveyed were confident in performing specific tasks to manage their debt, while even fewer (31%) were confident in performing specific tasks to invest their money.

“It’s really sad how untapped yet and the timing couldn’t be more perfect with NIL,” said Mendoza, a current ESPN MLB analyst who has been a two-time Olympic softball medalist and four times. All-American at Stanford University. . “But even without that, it’s something that even when I talk to varsity athletes they ask me a lot of questions because it goes beyond money and the overall planning of your life.”

Growing up in Camarillo, California, Mendoza was taught to save, save, save from parents Karen and Gil. She would take advantage of every opportunity to earn money, because “you never know where the next dollar will come from”.

Even though she had a full scholarship to Stanford, Mendoza volunteered for psychology experiments on campus for $ 20 apiece so she could afford a movie this weekend. After turning pro, it wasn’t until her first Olympic appearance in 2004 that she dipped into her savings and bought a house because she started accumulating a lot of money that was “just in my checking account.” “.

Like Mendoza, Hill was more conservative with his finances growing up, even though he was “scared” and “extremely paranoid” about spending his money after hearing his father’s horror stories about former teammates and opponents in the League. NFL in the 1970s that went bankrupt or were taking advantage of.

After being selected No.3 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft, two-time NCAA Champion Blue Devil signed an eight-year, $ 45 million contract with the Detroit Pistons. Shortly after entering the league, Hill established Hill Ventures, a marketing and management firm to oversee its unique business operations and marketing relationships. Three years later, in 1997, more money arrived after signing a seven-year, $ 80 million sponsorship deal with Fila.

“All of a sudden when I got into the NBA and signed my first deal with the Detroit Pistons, I instantly made more money than I could imagine, and I was extremely paranoid and scared, ”Hill said. “Hearing about all this, even at a young age, I wanted to keep it simple, be careful with what I spend and it really forced me to take the plunge and learn more about money and its money. functioning. Instead of asking someone else to meet with my financial planners, I made sure to be there. I was scared, but slowly I was able to learn.

“At the end of the day, it’s my money, it’s my life, so I really, really just wrapped my arms around this and I’m committed to trying to figure out how to make this work, and also to trying to set up a plan where later I would still have a significant amount of that money, and maybe even more. Fortunately because of my parents, not just then, but before that I had I was able to be disciplined, I was able to learn, grow, evolve and not make stupid mistakes to be on solid foundations throughout my career, but more importantly, once my career is over.

With an average career of 4.5 years in the NBA and an average career in the NFL even shorter at 3.3 years, athletes are focusing more than ever on their long-term financial stability. Not only that, but after the NCAA adopted a Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy in July, many student-athletes face significant financial straits before they can even legally buy alcohol – athletes. academics could earn $ 1.5 billion in NIL’s first year. Opendorse believes.

Outside of sports, about 40% of Americans under the age of 30 own stocks, according to a Gallup poll. Easier access to new technologies and applications for investing, coupled with the Covid pandemic, has more people focusing on financial security; half of young investors even invested their stimulus checks, according to CNBC.

Despite increased awareness, there is still a lack of viable educational tools and resources, especially for students and student-athletes.

“A lot of students and student-athletes want to grow their money and have enough capital to support a family and all that, but they just don’t know where to start,” says Nick Juran, University of Washington football player. “Financial literacy is incredibly important and something that is not necessarily distributed evenly between student-athletes and students in general. I think Invesco QQQ has done a really good job welcoming everyone, not just individuals or students from a certain region or economic status.

While becoming a professional athlete is the goal of the majority of college athletes, rising through the ranks on the playing field does not guarantee success. About 78% of NFL players go bankrupt within three years of retirement and 15.7% file for bankruptcy within 12 years of leaving the league, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. An estimated 60% of former NBA players go bankrupt within five years of leaving the league, and MLB players file for bankruptcy four times more than the average American.

Invesco QQQ believes How not to suck money will allow students and student-athletes to learn more about finances on their own terms without necessarily having to seek help or, worse yet, take another course.

“I think back to my college days, which was a very different time because we didn’t have the same access to information as we do now, but it was more from real and real experiences where you were sort of. forced to learn and understand, “says Hill.” I think a lot of my contemporaries made mistakes in the beginning – they had no idea about money management or understanding and learning the necessities of life. fundamentals associated with financial education.And not all families teach that.

“Here we are at a critical point in the lives of these young people in providing this resource that just gives you a basic understanding of how money works. “