PHOENIXVILLE, PA — Over 150 high school students tried their hand at 21st-century “adulting”, during a first-ever Financial Reality Fair on November 22. This free program, sponsored by TruMark Financial Credit Union, gave students an opportunity to learn the value-creating and working within a budget.
Financial Reality Fair is a hands-on experience in which students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food – and some not-so-basics like entertainment, travel, and pets.
While the students calculated monthly expenses, they also were required to spin the “reality wheel” which added things like car repairs and illness into their monthly expenditures. At the end of their “month”, they met with a financial planner to go over their results.
Along with the TruMark Financial Credit Union representatives, the reality fair booths were manned by parents, RA alumni, and even prior RA staff members who volunteered their time to help the students get a taste of financial responsibility.
The students and guests both seem to agree that the fair was a valuable (and fun) event. Academic & College Counselor, Tracey Behrens O’Brien randomly handed out different occupations to each of the students. Senior, Grace Moreschi said that she was excited that the salary for her “fair occupation” was very comparable to what she would make as her actual chosen occupation of radiation therapist. “It made the activity more realistic. It really is amazing how expensive everything it is to just live day today.”
Source: Renaissance Academy Charter School
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