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Juniors and Seniors Receive a Financial Reality Check

Financial Reality Check On Friday, Oct. 11, juniors and seniors participated in TruMark Financial Credit Union’s Financial Reality Fair, a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.

The students identified a career and starting salary and launched into an interactive budgeting exercise wherein they had to pay for basics like housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food, in addition to some not-so-basics like entertainment and travel.

Along the way, students were confronted by ‘fun” temptations, which pushed them in the direction of balancing wants and needs. After students visited booths covering components of independent living, they spun the “Wheel of Reality” to see which one of life’s surprises would impact their bottom line. After all that, they balanced their budget, and sat down with a financial counselor to review their standing.

An important feature of a responsible financial lifestyle is saving, a fact driven home throughout the fair, where students were encouraged to save a minimum of 10 percent of their income. Financial counselors explored the importance of planning for future needs and preparing for future financial challenges through savings.

The fair aims to increase financial literacy among youth, engage them in their preferred style of learning, and create financial awareness at an early age. The benefits include hands-on, real-life experience, a better understanding of earnings, spending, budgeting and savings, and instills the importance of sound financial habits.