Veterans Memorial Intermediate School students were able to experience the challenges of adult financial decision-making at a Financial Reality Fair held on April 16 in the school gym. This was the second year for the program at Veterans Memorial, held in collaboration with New Jersey Credit Unions.
A distinctive feature of the program was the participation of volunteers from a broad spectrum of the community - not only school and district staff, but business leaders and representatives of various public sector organizations, as well.
According to information provided by New Jersey Credit Unions, the event is a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own. It is a hands-on interactive experience in which students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget worksheet requiring
them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Additional expenditures such as student loan debt appropriate to career choice, entertainment and travel are factored in as well. Throughout the Reality Fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own. All students are assigned a credit score, which determines the interest rates they pay on their loans and credit cards. After the students have visited the various booths, covering components of independent living, they must balance their budget and support a savings goal. If students are unable to meet their financial needs, they must look at options such as obtaining a part-time job, finding a roommate or canceling a service and then meet with a Financial Counselor for a comprehensive review.
Click the following link for photos from the event: http://bit.ly/2Phd03B