Adulting can be rough sometimes! That’s why your area credit unions came together again (along with other area business) to provide Bark River-Harris Schools students a fun and hands-on learning experience called a “Financial Reality Fair!” This fair can give students an understanding of how to successfully live independent after they graduate college.
The Financial Reality Fair allows teens to actively discover for themselves the choices that will affect their financial future. A budget worksheet customized with a realistic starting annual salary & student loan debt appropriate to a career of each participant’s choosing starts them off. Everyone is assigned a credit score which determines the interest rates they pay on their loans & credit cards.
Students then visit several booths, operated by credit union and community volunteers to make decisions on the monthly expenses they will face when living on their own. The object is to find a place to live, purchase furniture, transportation & services to support themselves for one month in the real world. Teens must figure out how to balance their budget & support a savings goal. If they don’t make ends meet they must look at options such as obtaining a part-time job, finding a roommate, canceling a service or revising their spending choices. They must review their final budget with a Financial Counselor as many times as necessary, until they make enough money for their monthly expenses, aren’t too far into debt, and have money saved.