Going for broke in the National Football League isn't just about going all out to make the Super Bowl. Sadly, it's a literal fact of life given the large number of pro football players who reportedly go broke after retirement.

In an effort to reverse that trend, the Finra Investor Education Foundation and the NFL announced Friday they've joined forces to help incoming NFL players spot and avoid investment fraud, and to learn how to make smart financial decisions.

The joint Finra Foundation/NFL initiative will begin work during two upcoming college football all-star games showcasing prospective NFL players: the East/West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla. on January 22 and the Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on January 29.

Through a combination of 60-minute presentations and information booths placed in main traffic areas, the program will cover such topics as learning how to choose the right financial professional and how to do a background check, as well as learning about the risks of taking on debt.

The Finra Foundation will present its Outsmarting Investment Fraud (OIF) curriculum to both players and their parents. The program consists of three parts: making sure people understand they're at risk; explaining the psychological persuasion tactics con artists use to get their victims to make emotional rather than logical investment decisions; and telling people to ask a lot of questions and to verify information to make sure they're dealing with a licensed person who's selling a registered investment product.

The OIF program was originally developed for older investors because they're the most likely to be targeted for fraud because that's where the money is, says John Gannon, president of the Finra Investor Education Foundation. The large contracts signed by many NFL players put them at risk for fraud, too, he adds.

"This is a terrific opportunity for us because we're reaching potential NFL players before they've been approached by financial fraudsters," Gannon says.

According to Finra, the OIF program has been tested and shown to reduce susceptibility to investment fraud by more than 50% among participants.

The Finra Investor Education Foundation bills itself as the country's largest investor education foundation. It's collaborating with NFL Player Development and NFL Security on its pro football initiative. Gannon says this is the foundation's first relationship with a professional sports league, and he wouldn't comment on other endeavors with the NFL beyond the two upcoming college all-star games.

The NFL also operates a financial education program to help players improve their financial decision making and to better manage their finances, as well as a business management and entrepreneurial program run in tandem with top graduate business schools to improve players' ability to evaluate business opportunities.

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