Real Money. Real World.

American Partners FCU brings Real Money. Real World. to the Rockingham County School System

“Real Money, Real World” teaches the hard reality of how a salary really doesn’t compare to the bills students will one day receive.

This program was recently held at Rockingham County High School (RCHS) and sponsored through Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and the American Partners Federal Credit Union.

Students were handed information regarding their job, annual salary and monthly salary and asked to go through 12 booths where they would have to buy cars, homes, childcare and figure out life crises along the way.

One example was a jeweler who makes $25,200 a year and has a monthly income of $2,100. Childcare will cost $600 due to having two children.

The student would have to go booth-by-booth figuring out monthly expenses for food, clothing, cell phone plans and more. RCHS business teacher Foresa Coe said a chance booth was set up to teach students that, even when they have a plan, something can go wrong.

“They might get a $50 bonus in their check, but they might also get a flat tire and have to spend $50 to repair the tire,” Coe said. “Every step is a lesson.”

RCHS senior William King, who was volunteering at the event, said he has noticed many students go into debt quickly.

“They don’t realize you can’t live the high life they live with parents supporting them,” King said. King said this realization came quickly after he got a job and his parents made him start paying for everything.

Autumn Isley was one of the students who were participating in the event. She couldn’t believe how much child care costs and vowed her children will be taken to their grandparents’ house and she will never go to movies.

“It helped me,” Isley said. “It made me learn a lot of things, like how much a loan could cost you and different things.”

American Partners Federal Credit Union Marketing Manager Stephanie Chism said this real life simulation should teach students what their parents go through each month paying the bills. Chism said they learn sometimes you have to buy items which are less costly to make ends meet.

Coe said students were asking if they could give back their children because they were too costly. Her answer was no. Chism said students were getting second jobs to make ends meet and trying to figure out how the second job would affect their children’s lives.

Chism said they decided to create this program to help students make better choices in the colleges they choose to attend and to also make smarter financial decisions.

“We know when they walk across the stage on graduation, they’re on their own,” Chism said. “We want to prepare them as much as possible.”

Coe said the credit union is seeing the importance of financial literacy for students and it is necessary to survive in this economy.

“Students need to realize money is spent quickly and is hard to come by,” Coe said.

“Real Money, Real World” was originally created by Ohio State University, but Chism said the credit union made the program its own and now uses it in schools. This is the third time this simulation has been done locally; the first two times were at Reidsville High School reaching a total of over 1,000 students.

American Partners FCU would like to thank the volunteers from Reidsville Nissan, Blue Sky Realty, State Farm Insurance, Rockingham County School Board Chair Nell Rose, educators from Rockingham County Schools, and students in DECA.