For most kids, money management and strategic financing happens during a game of Monopoly or stretching the $20 their parents gave them to spend at the mall. Since 2008, Fairmont Federal Credit Union has been visiting local high schools to provide a crash-course for students on the up’s, down’s, and unexpected events of real-life finances, in a safe, fun environment. The program has reached over 1,700 students and the reactions are always eye-opening.
With the life-simulating game “Mad City Money,” students are “transported” to the future with their fellow classmates and, much like real-life, randomly given a life-situation. Some students have just graduated college. Some are married with children while others are single parents. All have bills to pay. Some have credit card debt, others have medical bills, while others must make payments on student loans.
For the next three hours, students must build a budget based on their financial situation, select necessities like housing, food, childcare, and clothing through nine different merchants. All transactions are paid through a debit card and budgets must be regularly balanced, all while navigating the financial pits and peaks typical of real-life. The “Fickle Finger of Fate” falls upon many students, introducing sudden, and unexpected financial setbacks students must address and overcome.
Following this simulation, student’s reactions were of surprise and new-found appreciation for money management. One lesson the students said they learned was the importance of saving and having backup plans, with one student saying,”you should save for emergencies.” Another concept students recognized was the importance of knowing the difference between wants and needs. One student said, “you should make wiser choices by getting what you need first, and then if you have money left over you can buy things you want.”
Finally, many students expressed respect for the financial responsibilities their parents face. “I have a new appreciation for what my parents do now,” said one student while another simply stated, “I don’t like being an adult.”
In March alone, Fairmont FCU reached nearly 200 students through the Mad City Money simulation, providing an opportunity to learn important lessons on responsible financial management and planning. With nine locations across West Virginia, Fairmont FCU is a non-for-profit financial organization that is owned and operated by our members. We offer a range of banking services including checking and savings, online and mobile banking, direct deposits, personal loans, business loans, mortgage loans, and more.
To find a Fairmont Federal Credit Union near you give us a call at 304-363-5320 for more information.