Financial Reality Fair for Seniors

Financial Reality Fair for Seniors
Posted on 05/21/2024
Students at tables during financial reality fair
On the morning of Thursday, May 16th, River View High School Seniors convened in the old Elementary gym for a Financial Reality Fair.   Jennifer Ward, RVHS Family and Consumer Sciences/Financial Literacy Teacher, coordinates this significant event annually.   A representative from WSECU Credit Union traveled all of the way from Spokane to lead the Fair!  

WSECU Representative
Students are randomly assigned a career or job and aligned income.  Using the information provided, students must explore the “real” world of choosing how to set themselves up for financial success.  They must select a form of transportation, housing, groceries, electronics, and cell phone service.  Students can choose how they will furnish their housing, but they have to fund their wardrobes per their assigned careers.  Students can choose to “apply” for a part-time job to supplement their income and decide between the “fun stuff,” such as buying a dog, a vacation, a tattoo, or a streaming service.  Yes, streaming services are an option, not a necessity! 

Students at tables during financial reality fair

Lastly, they had to stop by the “life happens” table, where they select a card similar to the chance cards in Monopoly.  Some cards gave the students the option of gambling in the sense of choosing to go with the card they selected or select another card with possibly double the consequence.  One student managed to select “threw a rock through a window” twice in a row, resulting in a combined $750 fine!  The volunteer humorously suggested the student avoid buying lottery tickets. 

threw a rock through a window "life happens" card      
After visiting each table and making their choices, the students had to put their financial skills to the test. They used their calculator apps to subtract their one-time purchases from their checking accounts. If they still had a balance, they had to transfer the remaining amount to their credit card and calculate their monthly credit card payment, which they then added to their monthly expenses.  The students were then given a take-home amount, based on their assigned salary minus typical deductions such as taxes, health insurance, and retirement savings.  They added their monthly expenses, which could also include a student loan payment depending on their career, and then checked if they were able to stay within their income.  Some students were even able to take it a step further, calculating how many months it would take them to pay off their credit card debt and start saving.  

WSECU representative showing how to calculate the monthly expenses
Altogether, this was a superb experience for students, as they combined the concepts they learned in class, putting them on their way to achieving financial literacy.  

Students at tables and volunteers

Thank you, Jennifer and WSECU, for giving the students an opportunity to set up for financial success. A special thank you to the volunteers who staffed the choice tables and guided students toward making the best choices aligned with their assigned careers and incomes!