The CU 4 Reality Education Program, sponsored by Service Credit Union, has given Kaiserslautern Middle School students a chance to learn about managing finances and how to calculate earnings and expenses.
The program uses an in-class curriculum during the school year to teach participants important skills that will equip them to handle money responsibly, set and adhere to budgets and avoid the pitfalls of debt. The program culminates with a simulated real-world CU 4 Reality Fair, where the students create a spending plan based on a salary, balance needs versus wants and make sure they are living within their means.
To complete their course of studies, more than 150 seventh grade students will meet April 30 at the fair in the school gymnasium. They will speak with representatives from local businesses to help them understand the many expenses they will face in adulthood.
“Spending money has never been easier than it is today, especially for America’s young people,” said Richard E. Tolle, senior vice president of overseas operations. “Too many students are learning to live beyond their means, because only a fraction of them are learning to manage their personal finances in school.”
According to the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, nearly 1/3 of all high school seniors use at least one credit card or use ATM cards. In addition, more than 3/4 of seniors have a savings or checking account. However, just 20 percent of high school seniors graduate with any formal instruction in personal finance.
The CU 4 Reality curriculum creates a fun and interactive learning environment where students can practice specific financial management skills and learn early on the consequences of debt when it comes to financial matters.
Developed by the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Credit Union League, the CU 4 Reality Program, which is in its fourth successful year, gives students the opportunity to participate in a hands-on event that propels them through the personal financial management process, including career selection, budgeting for housing, transportation, luxuries and more.
At the fair, each student will receive a file detailing the student’s personal information specific to their career choice. It includes their monthly gross income, and students must calculate their take-home pay and create a monthly spending plan as they progress through booths representing various categories of expenses they can expect to incur. Students will make decisions about what they would spend on various items such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, insurance, home furnishings, savings, investments, entertainment and credit.
(Courtesy of Service Credit Union)