MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon eighth-graders learned some real life financial lessons Friday when they participated in a Real Money, Real World simulation cosponsored by the school and the Knox County OSU Extension Office.
For the simulation, the students were asked to envision themselves at age 25. Each was assigned a profession, monthly income, marital status, children or no children, college loans or no college loans, credit score and credit card debt. Given a simulated monthly paycheck, the students had an hour to rotate through 20 stations designed to help them learn about the costs of living on their own, making financial decisions and then dealing with the consequences of those decisions.
Stations were staffed by volunteers who explained the costs of banking, child care, credit, groceries, utilities, transportation, insurance and other commodities. The students then “spent” their salaries paying bills, buying necessities and sometimes luxuries they would like as part of their adult lifestyle. The ultimate goal was to make it through the simulation with some money left.
Victoria Wheeler, 13, ended the simulation with $298 in the bank. She said the experience really benefited her. “It made me think more about what I was doing,” she told the News. She said she has decided to save her money in real life rather than spending it on clothes and accessories like she previously did.
Quite a few students, like Taylor Lowe, ended up having to apply for a second job in order to pay for everything. She said the simulation helped her realize what things cost and “they’re not cheap.”
Ben Delph also had to get a second job. “It wasn’t smart,” he said, “but I bought two cars, one a Camaro. I don’t have anywhere to live yet.”
Several students checked out the SOS booth, which had information about emergency assistance offered by such organizations such as Interchurch and Job & Family Services.
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