Financial Fitness Fairs: A Money Management Experience
This Monday and Tuesday I trekked across Maine to attend two Financial Fitness Fairs. One at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and the other at Loring Job Corps in Aroostook County.
A Financial Fitness Fair targets either high school juniors or seniors and puts them through a mock scenario of making a budget. The students choose a career based on their own interests or personal choice. With that career choice, they are assigned a salary for what they would make on average as an entry-level employee.
With their salary, the students then have to walk around to different booths and make realistic financial decisions. Booths include housing, cars, insurance, clothing, furnishings, entertainment, college, etc.
They are presented with an array of choices, like buying a used car or a brand new truck? Rent a one bedroom apartment or rent a bigger apartment and have roommates?
Depending on their chosen career, some students have more money to "spend" than others. If their budget spread sheets did not add up, they had to go back to certain booths and make another (more finically savvy) choice.
For example, some students choose a brand new car, new furniture, and decided to budget for going out to eat four times a week. But those choices could not be made on the smaller salary of that particular student.
It's important for them to realize while they are still teenagers that you cannot live beyond your means. You cannot spend more than you earn.
It was also great for the students because they got wonderful prizes at the end of the fair! In Aroostook County they choose students randomly from a hat to go into the money booth. Whatever they picked out of the air, they got to bring home!
I wish my high school had done something like this!