tariq_akeem_muhammad_web.jpgMIAMI LAKES — Miami Dolphins’ receiver Davone Bess and BankUnited recently honored Miami Central High School student Tariq Akeem Muhammad, 15, for his grand-prize winning essay on the importance of saving money.

Bess met with Muhammad at Sun Life Stadium and presented him with an autographed football. In addition to the autographed football and meeting Bess, Muhammad’s essay earned him a $1,000 savings bond from BankUnited.

Bess and BankUnited teamed up to promote financial literacy with 4 Downs for Finance, which encouraged students in grades K-12 to access age-appropriate money tips at 4downsforfinance.com throughout the football season, then submit an essay telling why they think saving is important. 

In addition to Muhammad, 11 other students were selected to win a football autographed by Bess.

As part of 4 Downs for Finance, Bess shared money tips with students such as:

• Earn money by getting a part-time job or helping parents around the house.

• Save part of what you earn, at least 10 percent.

• Save a portion of monetary gifts you receive for holidays and birthday gifts, at least 10 percent.

• Open a savings account for the money you save and deposit it as soon as possible to avoid spending it.

• Set a savings goal.  Be ambitious enough that you have to work for it but realistic enough that the goal is achievable.

“It is important to encourage saving and teach money management skills beginning at a young age,” said John Kanas, chairman, president and CEO of BankUnited, one of the largest banks headquartered in Florida. “By partnering with Davone, we drew on his appeal among South Florida’s youth to help spread some important messages about saving and managing money.”

Photo: Tariq Akeem Muhammad