Redskins rookies took a break from their football responsibilities on Friday afternoon to participate in the fifth-annual Junior Achievement Finance Park Demonstration in Fairfax, Va.
The event, put on in conjunction with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, focused on budgeting and making other smart financial decisions and was a part of the Redskins Rookie Community Club, which aims to educate first-year players about life outside of football.
"For the rookies, it's a really great mind opener," said Chelsea Soneira, the vice president of education for Junior Achievement. "It's always a great place to have a safe space to talk about budget, whether it's with someone who's younger than you or someone who is older than you. And we really are just proud that they're engaging in the community in something that's been really important around this area."
Finance Park is a hands-on activity for 8th grade students focusing on financial management. Upon arrival, each student was assigned a career, salary and life situation. Each rookie would be provided a scenario and would be paired with a student who has already been through the program to go through a similar simulation.
Assisting the Redskins' rookies were eighth-graders from Poe Middle School in Annandale, Va., who had already completed the Junior Achievement Finance Park course, which simulates the process of building a family budget based on a unique life situation (career, salary, kids, etc.). On Friday, the students assumed teaching roles while the players served as the students. Both sides gained valuable insight from the exercise and subsequent conversations.
"Just how much everything costs from mortgages and loans and interest on those things," said third-round wide receiver Terry McLaurin. "And while you want the nicer things in life, you also have to be cognizant of how much money you're bringing in and you have to be looking long-term with savings and future endeavors."
Both McLaurin and seventh-round pick Jordan Brailford admitted to wanting to splurge on cars -- Brailford pushed hard for a convertible -- before their student teachers reminded them about living within their financial means. And while these simulations were not indicative of their current situations, there's aspects of them that all NFL players, not just rookies, can factor into their money-making decisions.
"This makes it a little bit more real because they are understanding what it's like to live on a $65,000 salary and supporting a family of four," said Malcolm Blacken, the Redskins' director of player development. "So this is a great opportunity for us to show these guys that even though you may make more than that, you should still live beneath your means, begin with the end in mind so you can be successful in your future financially."