WARE — Country Bank recently sponsored a Credit for Life Fair at Ware High School. Credit for Life is a financial-literacy exercise where more than 350 seniors from Ware, Palmer, Belchertown, and Pathfinder Regional high schools are asked to make decisions on how to spend their money.
Students role-played a 25-year old adult with a career, salary, and credit score. They were assigned a mock checking and savings account and possibly a student-loan payment, depending on the career they selected. Based on their mock salary, they made decisions that affected their finances, such as renting an apartment on their own or having a roommate, buying or leasing a vehicle, purchasing furniture, and saving for their retirement.
“The goal of this event is for students to gain a better understanding of their future fiscal responsibilities. They learned about balancing a budget and making choices about their finances. They also learned how one financial choice can greatly impact another,” said Jodie Gerulaitis, financial education officer at Country Bank.
More than 70 volunteers from Country Bank and the business community staffed the booths and offered advice on money management. Every booth included choices that would be encountered in real life. Students had the option to ‘buy’ a high-end set of furniture, for example, or opt for furniture at a more affordable price. This approach blends real-life scenarios with everyday financial decisions in an organized, hands-on format. Seeing the actual cost of things leaves students with a new perspective on true financial management.
Country Bank sponsored four Credit for Life Fairs in 2016, reaching more than 1,500 students at 11 high schools. To learn more about this program, visit countrybank.com/student/high-school.