Educators Credit Union sponsors an event called Reality Check Day at several high schools throughout Wisconsin. This year, Victor Frasher (Educators’ director of community engagement) and several volunteers put on over ten Reality Check Day events. This event aims to demonstrate what real life is like once students leave the classroom and are thrown into the real world of finances.
Each student is presented with a folder with their life status, a debit card, a check and a check register. On their life status cards, they are assigned an occupation, salary, a credit score, whether they are married, single or divorced, how much they have to pay towards health insurance and/or child support. The students then decide when they want to retire and calculate how much they will have to save in order to retire at the age they choose.
Once students determine their retirement age, they then begin to go through “life”. Students will have to visit each table representing a life event. These tables are where they purchase:
- A home
- Daycare, if needed
Students also have to stop by the government table to either pay or receive child support. There is a “Fate” table where students stop and spin the wheel to see if they win or lose money. The Fate table can determine if they need new tires, lost their wallet or received extra money from working overtime. Students are even required to donate to a charitable organization of their choice in order to complete the entire experience. Walking too fast from table to table? Students could be caught by the police officer distributing traffic violations. Students also could be stopped by the nurse who hands out healthcare expenses they would need to pay in order to continue on with the event. If the students are unable to purchase everything they need to survive and save, they can head over to the S.O.S. table to pick up a second job for extra cash.
This event is eye opening for students. As they go through every table, they have to record their transactions in their check register. Although check registers may seem outdated, it’s important for the students to learn to manage and keep track of their money coming in and going out.
“Definitely I’ll create a budget for myself,” said Cudahy High School senior, Maria Delao. “I found that I spend money on things I don’t necessarily need. Instead of buying that five dollar coffee every day, I can cut down on that and make my own coffee.”
Educators is passionate about financial education and aims to help students prepare for life. This event is a creative and impactful way for students to learn how to budget for real world expenses. If you are interested in holding a Reality Check Day at your school, please do not hesitate to contact Victor Frasher at 262.884.6630 or email@example.com.