arvis Landry, wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, has a vested interest in teaching young people about financial education. He has partnered with BankUnited to promote 4 Downs for Finance — a financial literacy program designed to educate high school students about the benefits of budgeting and saving money early on.

Mediaplanet: Why did you take an interest in financial literacy?

Jarvis Landry: I am determined not to be a statistic and end up bankrupt after my playing career in the NFL is over. As a rookie, Kaleb Thornhill, Miami Dolphins Director of Player Engagement, taught some money management classes that put me on the path of keeping track of my finances and saving while I can. While I am on the right track, there is a lot that I am still learning.

MP: Did you understand finances when you were growing up?

JL: My mom had two jobs to support my brother and I. We saw how hard she worked to give us the opportunity to play football without having to worry about getting an after-school job. I learned from her how important it was to save and invest. She is the reason I could follow my passion and pursue my dream to become an NFL player.

MP: Why is it important for students to understand finances and to save for the future?

JL: A college education is important. Most college student loans come close to $30,000 USD when all is said and done. If students can learn how to save right now, they will be better off in the future when they are paying off loans as well as saving for their own children’s educations. In Florida, I have been fortunate to team up with BankUnited — together we help students learn about savings. I want students to know it’s important to make a budget and learn how to stick to it!

MP: Do you find that using your platform as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL has helped students take interest in financial education?

JL: They hear NFL player and I think they get excited for me to talk to them. When students are excited about who is talking, they pay more attention to the topic. Playing in the NFL has definitely helped me get more students to sign up and stay engaged with the conversation. These students look up to me and want to hear what I have to say so they can follow in my footsteps. I feel humbled to be in this place and want to make sure I help as many students as possible and make sure they have the resources to succeed.

MP: What is the one thing you would tell student to help them start saving money for the future?

JL: It’s never too early to start saving. A lot of students have their parents’ help for now, but that won’t last forever. If they can teach themselves to save while they are living at home it will help them continue to save when they are out on their own. A lot of young people make the excuse that they don’t make enough to save, but consistently saving anything adds up — that’s what they need to understand.