Lanco FCU Brings Dose of “Reality” to High School Juniors and Seniors
Lanco FCU, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation, has hosted several Financial Reality Fairs at local high schools. Designed to educate students on basic budgeting and money management skills, the Financial Reality Fair is a practical exercise that helps prepare students for navigating life on their own, as adults. “For many years, credit unions have been providing financial education in classrooms, workplaces, and communities,” explained recently retired Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Joe Wambach. “The Reality Fair complements classroom studies to help prepare young people for financial success when they get out into the real world.”
In the 2015–2016 school year, Lanco FCU brought the Financial Reality Fair to more than 300 high school juniors and seniors. Participants receive an occupation, salary, student loan debt, and savings and checking balances. The students use this information to make choices about housing, transportation, food, clothing, insurance, entertainment, and other expenses within a realistic budget. Following their selections, students spin the “Wheel of Reality” to find out if they will enjoy surprise income, such as receiving a gift, or must allow for an unexpected expense, such as a medical bill. At the end of the exercise, students meet with financial counselors who review their budget results and consult with them on possible adjustments they may need to make. Students are encouraged to evaluate their needs and wants, so they’ll be able to over all monthly expenses, pay off debt, and regularly contribute to their savings.
Feedback from students has been wonderful, and it confirms that the fair is prompting students to think about all the decisions they’ll need to make for success with personal finance. Students often remark that participating in the fair is like a wake-up call—they didn’t realize just how expensive it is to pay for everything you need to live on your own. Well-received by students and administrators, Lanco FCU is planning to bring the fair to even more students in 2016 and beyond.
School Administrators/Teachers: Bring the fair to your school! Financial Reality Fairs are free to hold, and they can be scaled to meet your needs, from a “mini” fair for one classroom to a fair for an entire grade level. To learn more about Financial Reality Fairs, please contact Steve Turpin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (717) 569-7180 x115.