Financial Education Matters: A Conversation with Darren Woodson

In this video, we talk to Darren Woodson, a former Dallas Cowboy and three-time Super Bowl champion, about what he believes every athlete should know when thinking about their financial wellbeing.


“I’ve seen too many athletes not make the most of the financial opportunities they have while they’re playing,” says Darren Woodson. To help change that, he is focused on promoting the importance of financial education.

In this candid conversation, Darren shares how he became financially educated and the key elements that he believes all professional athletes should have in their financial playbook:

  • Budgeting and getting to the “net net”
  • Making savings a priority for a stable financial future
  • Having a trusted team who can teach you and give you good advice
  • Planning for the future, which means looking beyond the now
  • Taking ownership of your financial wellbeing
  • Thinking of yourself as the CEO of the business of you

Darren grew up in Maryvale, Arizona, a low-income neighborhood outside of Phoenix, watching his mother work two jobs to support him and his siblings. He learned early on about living paycheck to paycheck and deciding which bills to pay. Football was Darren’s way out, but he had a rude awakening when his grades benched him during his first year at Arizona State. Almost overnight, his future as a pro football player was at risk.

Darren got his grades up, became an all-star for Arizona State, and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. He had a stand-out career with the team, including three Super Bowl Championships and five Pro-Bowl appearances. He retired from the NFL after 13 years, then went on to become an ESPN broadcaster and a commercial real-estate entrepreneur.

Despite his successes, Darren’s early lessons about money and budgets never left him. He began building his financial playbook even before his very first NFL check. As a Cowboys co-captain and in his life since football, Darren has been passionate about helping athletes take control of their financial wellbeing.

Darren’s focus on financial wellbeing is also shared by Merrill. Our advisors will work with you to map out strategies to help with your financial goals. Contact  an advisor today to start a conversation.

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