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Kenton Middle School students participated in “Real Money, Real World” Tueday afternoon, a program designed to enable students to explore career opportunities and make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis.
Participants in the program, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension in Hardin County and Kenton City Schools, assumed that they had completed basic educational requirements for a job and were married with children, 25 years of age, and independent with no financial support from family or other sources.
After being assigned a potential career, program participants received a monthly salary for their career and then proceeded through, learning lessons about deducting taxes, determining a savings amount, and spending their monthly “salary” on the necessary and luxury items that reflect the career and lifestyle they had chosen.
Using sample savings and checking account registers and deposit slips, participants learned how to record and manage their accounts. After making their deposits, participants then proceeded through the simulation by making spending choices from booths operated by local business people in the appropriate field: housing, transportation, insurance, utilities, groceries, clothing, entertainment, furniture, medical/-dental and health/grooming.
Students also chose a “chance” card, which represented the unexpected expenses and incomes encountered in the real world.
After each choice, the middle schoolers made a deposit or wrote a check and balanced their checkbook. Participants completed their experience by evaluating the choices they had made. If they had a negative checking account balance, they considered alternatives which might be made to have a positive balance.
At the completion of the activity, students received rewards for staying within their budgets.
After participating in the program, it is hoped students will realize that how well they succeed in school will have a direct relationship to their future earning power.