It may be fun, fun, fun for the universe to choose your fate, but not so much for high school seniors trying to manage their money for the first time. Who knows where the wheel of fortune will land … you could have to pony up for a root canal or a parking ticket, or take home a lottery prize. Every senior gets to spin the wheel and see what it’s like for all the rest of us who have to work the unexpected into a monthly budget. (Let’s just say, it’s bad news more often than it’s good.)
This fateful spin was all part of a Credit for Life Fair held at Montville High school, where students are assigned a career, a salary, a credit score, and a savings balance and then let loose to see what it’s like to cover monthly expenses on their own. Teens visit about a dozen booths where they have to make spending decisions about all the necessities of life, and how they pay for the expense … cash, savings, or credit. The object is to make choices that allow them to live within their means.
Many students buddy up to defray expenses by living as room mates. That can curb the cost of an apartment, furniture and utilities, but there are still expenses they need to pay on their own … phone, clothing, food, transportation and insurance. At the conclusion of the event, students add up their expenses and see if, between their salaries and savings, they end up in the black. Some, who buy their dream first, like a new car or a vacation, quickly find out it’s all about prioritization and practicality first and fun second.
Even so, the Fun, Fun, Fun booth is everybody’s favorite, producing the most hoots and hollers about your own good fortune or laughs about someone else’s misfortune.