NBA star James Harden throws his support behind financial literacy

James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against the Toronto Raptors during Game 5 of the first round of the Eastern Conference on April 25, 2022.

Tim Nwachukwu | Getty Images

For NBA player James Harden, promoting financial literacy among youth is personal.

Harden, a point guard and shooting guard recently signed to A Reported a contract worth $68.6 million for two years With the Philadelphia 76ers, he remembers turning 20 in 2009 with a suddenly big salary. As a first-round pick – third overall – he just signed a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder worth $4.76 million, According to Spotrac.com.

“You want to buy everything,” Harden told CNBC in a phone interview. “And you deserve it, you buy your first car or your first home or something.”

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But Harden had to learn about finances quickly.

“For me, it was learning how to not just save, but how to make smart investments,” Harden said. “You may have money in a bank account or in savings, but for the sake of longevity, your money should work for you when you sleep.

“That’s something I learned.”

The cost of the online course is covered by the non-profit Harden Foundation

To reach young people who could benefit from learning about finances, Impact 13 Foundation is collaborating with financial advisor Jordan Awoye, managing partner of Awoye Capital in Babylon, New York, on a financial awareness tour.

The initiative involves networking with different colleges, where Awoye meets with small groups of students to talk about life and finances, and gives them access to an online personal finance course they can complete in their spare time. With scholarships, Impact 13 covers the cost of a $795 e-course license — developed by Awoye — that covers topics such as budgeting, debt, credit, and investing.

“I think I just came from where I came from and where I am now — getting to the NBA, staying there for 14 years and seeing how the money is handled — it’s essential to let Jordan and people like me explain and show,” Harden said.

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Owe, who has already visited six institutions — including Towson University in Maryland and Norfolk State University in Virginia — said the NBA star could make surprise visits at some of the seminars.

Research shows that understanding how money is managed makes a difference. People who scored above average on a seven-question financial literacy test were more likely to make ends meet than those whose knowledge is limited, according to Study from FINRA.

For example, those who scored higher spent less of their income (53% vs. 35%) and allocated the equivalent of three months of emergency funds at higher levels (65% vs. 42%). They were also more likely to have done some future planning by calculating their retirement savings needs (52% vs. 29%) and opening a retirement account (70% vs. 43%).

Once I started doing a good job in wealth management, it really started becoming important to me.

Jordan Oye

Managing Partner of Awoye Capital

With many of the country’s youth coming of age and a lack of knowledge about financial matters, some state legislatures have passed laws requiring public school systems to teach personal finance. Fifteen states ensure, or have committed to ensuring, that all high school students have access to a self-contained personal finance course, according to The State of Financial Education 2022 Report from The Next Generation of Personal Finance. Other countries have the curriculum hidden in another semester (ie economics) or offer it as an elective. Still others do not require personal finance at all.

At the same time, the Americans bear $890 billion credit card debtwho comes with Interest rates on average over 18%. In addition, 56% of adults in the United States will not be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 bill in savings, according to a bank survey.

In other words, there is room for a lot of improvement when it comes to financial literacy.

For Oye, his interest in promoting financial literacy is a matter of “if only I knew then what I know now,” he said.

“Once I started doing really well in wealth management, I really started turning into my own assignment to help with financial literacy,” Oye said.

“If we can give that to the next generation, everyone will be better off,” he said.

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