On December 19, 2019 Genisys Credit Union hosted their first Financial Reality Fair with six senior economics classes at Lake Orion High School. The Reality Fair is a hands-on, interactive experience that allows students the opportunity to advance their financial understanding through a realistic approach to budgeting.
“Genisys is excited to have an opportunity to work with students in our community to further their understanding of what it means to be financially responsible and independent,” said Jackie Buchanan, President / CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “We are excited to bring more Reality Fairs to high schools throughout our communities.”
During the fair, students use an app to select a career choice in which they are provided a salary and assigned a credit score. Students then make their way through 10 stations such as transportation, housing, and technology to actively make spending decisions within their monthly budget.
“We are so thankful to Genisys Credit Union for giving our seniors enrolled in Personal Finance a true reality check of what it is like to budget life out with needs, wants, and unexpected expenses,” said Rosa Everitt, Career and Technical Education Coordinator for Lake Orion Community Schools. “Our students truly enjoyed learning about the importance of credit scores, when to buy a new or used car vs. leases, etc. Here, at Lake Orion, we are looking forward to continuing this educational partnership for all our seniors to experience throughout the year.”
Over the course of the fair students also encounter unexpected expenses that require them to consulate a financial counselor, which helps to evaluate their budget and choices made in order to enable them to stay within their budget, pay down debt, and allocate money for savings.
With support from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation, this experience shows students that planning and budgeting are necessary steps in money management practices to be financially independent. It also allows students to see how credit unions can help individuals thrive financially through resources, counseling, and products and services.