High school students play

a finance game

UPPER DARBY It's a rare football game that stops before each play to ask the players to identify features of a 529 savings plan or determine whether a savings or money market account offers a better interest rate.

That's the game that Upper Darby High School students played Monday, and it's a game that Eagles tight end Brent Celek encouraged them to play again often. It's called Financial Football. Created by Visa, the video game is already available as a financial literacy teaching tool in all middle and high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and 38 other states. Celek, state Treasurer Rob McCord, and Visa representatives visited Upper Darby on Monday to announce their plan to put the game in the state's libraries, too.

McCord touted the benefits of receiving a financial education, even at an age well before most students will ever look at a 401(k) plan or worry about the Consumer Price Index. He cited a study that claimed just one financial literacy course can lead to savings equivalent to an extra year of income down the road.

"The importance of having some kind of financial knowledge and financial discipline cannot be overstated," McCord said.

Celek drew much greater applause from the crowd of about 50 high schoolers than the treasurer, who is running for governor in 2014. Celek told them that he had run into financial trouble himself when he didn't pay his phone bill and later faced a low credit score that made it harder to buy a house.

"I wish when I was your age, I was sitting in a room learning about this," he said. He enthusiastically coached his team of high schoolers, who represented the Eagles against McCord's Dallas Cowboys.

- Julie Zauzmer