Before he made a career of catching passes from guys like Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler and Tom Brady, making an art form of keeping his toes in bounds along the sidelines on Matrix-worthy completions, Brandon Lloyd was just a kid from Blue Springs, Missouri; a kid with a dream, but not the one you think . . .
Tuesday morning, the 31-year-old New England Patriots wide receiver toured Lowell High School and shared some life lessons in work ethic and financial responsibility with a group of LHS seniors.
“He is really committed to financial education,” said Anne-Marie Bisson, assistant vice president for financial education at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union.
Bisson’s connection with the National Financial Educators Council, a group with whom Lloyd works, was the tie that brought the wide receiver to the Mill City.
Lloyd credits his success with how he grew up and the choices he made early in life. As a kid, Lloyd found himself conducting the play-by-play, providing the commentary for neighborhood basketball games. He knew he wanted to go into broadcasting.
As the youngest of seven children, he would need to be creative in finding a way to pay for college; that was where sports came in.
“I never saw sports as my future,” he said. “It was a means to an end; that’s what sports were for me, a way to get a scholarship.”
Lloyd set his sights on the University of Illinois, known for its broadcast journalism program, and secured an athletic scholarship that took him there.
“I surrounded myself with people who wanted to be as successful as I wanted to be,” he said, adding that going to college was “the most important decision I’ve made to this day.”
Lloyd told the crowd in the Little Theater that as seniors they are now at a critical point in their lives.
“The time for being a kid is over, you are making adult decisions and you need to be prepared to support all of those decisions financially,” he said. “You are going to make terrible decisions with money; you are going to buy things you shouldn’t buy, you are going to make bad business decisions.”
Lloyd did not come to Lowell High alone, he brought his financial advisor, Femi Shote, along for the ride.
“Money doesn’t come with instructions,” said Shote, who works with NFL, NBA and MLB players and player unions, guys who at a very young age are suddenly flush with cash and under a lot of pressure regarding what to do with it.
“When you have money, you have options,” Shote told the students, emphasizing the importance of saving money, even a little at a time and learning from your mistakes.
In addition to Lloyd and Shote, members of the JDCU financial education team, along with video messages from actor Wilmer Valderrama and professional skateboarder Christian Hosoi, offered further financial advice.
First off – beware of the credit card offers you will be buried in the first time you step foot on a college campus. Free T-shirts, free airline tickets, free music downloads. Sounds great, right?
Read the fine print; 29 percent interest, $40 late fees. Still sound good? Didn’t think so, and the bad choices made with those credit cards will dog you for years down the road.
“Compounding interest is the secret to becoming a millionaire,” said JDCU’s Leisa Brito, explaining the $100 put in the bank today will be $110 in one year, then that interest earned will earn its own interest, leaving you with $121 in two years; that’s $21 you did not have to lift a finger to earn. Let your money work for you.
When asked how they would spend an unlimited cache of cash, the students answered quickly: “Shoes!” “Clothes!” “Hot dogs!” “My mom!” and “Jewelry!”