September 3, 2014

Subscriber Login

Students taste adult life PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:55 PM

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OTTOVILLE — Fort Jennings and Ottoville eighth-graders and freshmen students experienced a “trial run” at adult spending in a two-hour program simulating the real-life experiences of money management and the correlation between educational attainments and earning power.
Each year, America’s high schools graduate thousands of young adults who are unprepared in matters of employment and financial decisions. With Real Money, Real World programs ­— partnerships of the OSU County Extension Office, schools and business communities — young people are given the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices through an active, hands-on experience.

Putnam County 4-H Youth Development Educator Jason Hedrick explained the preliminary work the students perform prior to attending the hands-on program.


“Each student completes three or four lessons in a careers- and/or finance-related class,” Hedrick said. “Then they are given a random generated ‘family’ — a wife or husband and children — and then try to balance the necessities, as well as luxuries, with the reality of monthly income.”
Fort Jennings eighth-grader Kyle Maag chose his profession as an electrician. With a family of three to support and a budget of $3,125 per month, he found that after deducting a car with insurance, a house with insurance, entertainment, a credit card, college loan payment and a loss of income on a chance he took, he had only $1,042 left to purchase the balance of his necessities.

“It’s been a good learning experience and teaches real life situations,” Maag was introspective, especially when you jump from high school to paying for everything yourself.”

Jessica Young, a freshmen from Fort Jennings, chose to be a pharmacist. Her simulated family included a husband, one toddler and a budget before taxes of $6,500.

“This experience opened my eyes to the expenses my parents incur everyday,” Young spoke insightfully. “I’ll purchase items that are not as expensive. It gives me an understanding of what I’ll be facing.”

Fort Jennings eighth-grader Conner Stechschulte’s intentions of becoming a police or sheriff patrol officer, with a wife and one child, would yield him a budget of $3,558.  “This [Real Money, Real World program] will be beneficial when I am on my own,” Stechschulte reflected on the experience. “It will help me budget my money.”

The booths were structured to encompass normal monthly expenditures like clothing, food, utilities and car ownership. Depending on the size of the family, it is estimated that a husband and wife with a budget of less than $44,500 per year, will spend $70 dollar a month on clothing and $30-$60 more if they have a child. Purchasing a small car would cost $495 per month and includes fuel, maintenance costs and insurance. Buying a small pickup would cost considerably more at $806 per month. A family — husband, wife and young child — owning a home would have utility bills running upwards of $345 per month and grocery expenses ranging from $500-$580

Putnam County Deputy Sheriff Dave Roney was on hand to patrol the booth activities.

“I’m here to ‘ticket’ the students when they purchase an auto from a booth, forget about buying insurance and then drive away to another booth. I pull them over, give them a ticket and hope they learn the importance of driving with insurance,” Roney said.

Pam Hickey, Family Consumer Sciences teacher at Ottoville Elementary, tries to instill one of the most important financial habits an individual can practice.

“The most important line item of any budget is P.Y.F. (Pay Yourself First),” Hickey spoke adamantly. “I teach my students to deposit 5 percent of their income into savings before any other expenses are paid.”

The curriculum is comprised of six lessons including How Occupation Affects Income; Deductions-What You See is Not What You Get; How to Use Checking and Savings Accounts; Making Choices - Preparing for the Simulation; Real Money, Real World Simulation; and What Did You Learn?
Throughout the duration of the program, students assume the role of a young adult who is the sole income provider for a family. They choose an occupation and receive a monthly salary where students learn to subtract savings, taxes and health insurance amounts from their income. The amount of money left over is what they have to spend during the simulation activity. The simulation involves community volunteers who represent actual businesses in the community. These volunteers set up and staff booths representing real-life businesses. By visiting the appropriate booths, students spend their salaries on items typically found in a monthly budget including housing, utilities, groceries, insurance, childcare and transportation. Throughout the activity, students keep track of their finances and attempt to complete the simulation with a positive balance. During the post-simulation lesson, students reflect on their experience and what they learned by completing a self-assessment.

Many Ohio students have graduated without minimal formal education in finance. In 2009, The State Board of Education approved the requirements of Amended Substitute House Bill 1 (Am. Sub. HB 1), which calls for the development of academic content standards in financial literacy and entrepreneurship in grades seven and eight. Amended Substitute Senate Bill 311 (the Ohio Core legislation) requires that schools begin teaching economics and financial literacy to all high school students before the Class of 2014 graduates.
For more information, visit

Last Updated on Thursday, February 28, 2013 11:46 AM

Add comment

Security code