Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Area Graduating Seniors Get a Dose of the "Real World"

High School Seniors got a dose of the “real world” on Tuesday
(April 12) courtesy of the MSU Extension Service. Seniors met with volunteers from a multitude of industries and businesses at Louisville High School to participate in a program to give some insight into personal financial management. The following excerpt from Extension Service material explains the program:

Welcome to the Real World is an active, hands-on, real-life simulation designed to help young people learn about the financial obligations adults face on a daily basis. Each student is given a scenario containing an occupation, marital status, and number and ages of children. After participants receive their monthly salary, they then proceed through the Real World, deducting taxes, determining a savings amount, and spending their monthly “salary” on the necessary or luxury items that reflect their careers and lifestyles. Participants receive no financial support from family or others.

Using sample checking account registers, participants learn how to
record and manage their account. Participants proceed through the Real World activity by making spending choices from categories like these: housing, groceries, transportation, clothing, insurance, entertainment, utilities, childcare, taxes, communications, furniture, personal care, etc. After each choice, they enter the transaction in their checkbook register and keep a running balance. They also choose from the “Crystal Ball” that represents the unexpected expenses and incomes encountered in the real world. Participants complete their Real World experience by evaluating the choices they have made. If they had a negative checking account balance, they consider alternatives that might be made to have a positive balance. The program can be done as a 3-hour workshop or in a shorter version for about 1 hour.

Tracy Gregory with the Winston County Extension indicates that the Real World program will be a yearly event from now on and that the local office hopes to include 9th graders as well as graduating seniors in next year’s event.