“LAFCU’s Financial Reality Fair provides learning that is an excellent supplement to our curriculum,” said Dave Myron, Perry High School principal. “Financial skills are fundamental to success as an adult. We are appreciative of the time and effort LAFCU has provided us to enhance those skills in our students.”
Students chose a career prior to the fair, then, based on their estimated salary and assigned credit score, they visited 13 stations staffed by LAFCU financial experts to select goods and services simulating one month of independent adult living. There were required selections, such as housing, food and saving for the future, and optional selections like cable and getting a part-time job to make ends meet.
After tallying their expenditures, students met individually with a LAFCU financial counselor at station #14 to explore ways to improve their financial decision-making.
The fair is an extension of the LAFCU-Perry Public Schools partnership founded in 2014 with the goal to help prepare the approximate 2,500 students to succeed financially. The credit union provides financial literacy programming for all grade levels and operates a portable branch at the district’s three buildings with assistance from students.
“It was rewarding to see many students staying within their budgets and focusing on their long-term financial success,” said Julianne Ackerson, LAFCU assistant vice president of branch operations. “The exercise provided numerous surprises, too, such as insurance, gas and maintenance expenses for car ownership and additional costs for premium cable packages.”
Ackerson manages the LAFCU Owosso and Corunna branches.
LAFCU employees staffing the fair also represented branches located in Eaton Rapids, DeWitt and South Lansing as well as LAFCU’s headquarters in west Lansing. Michigan Credit Union Foundation provided materials and training for the fair that are designed to have a lasting impact on the financial understanding of participating teens.
Fair coordinator Alyssa Sliger, LAFCU marketing and communications specialist, overheard a student exclaim, “I had no idea things cost so much.”
Sliger said, “I believe many students gained a new appreciation for what their parents provide and the decisions they have made with regard to finances. The fair provides a safe environment where students can learn from their mistakes to prepare to succeed financially in the real world.”