Rachael Fraley: Extension offers lessons in money management

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 10, 2021

Ohio State University Extension partners with local schools to fulfill the goal of enriching students’ financial education.

Intermittently, over the past few years, Ohio State University Extension has partnered with local schools such as Dawson-Bryant, Ironton and South Point to bring students a tailored Real Money, Real World Program best fit for their needs; as well as partnered with Collins Career and Technical Center to allow their students to participate in the activity during their Professional Development Day.

Real Money, Real World is a fun, distinctive, interactive spending simulation providing 13–16 year-olds the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those made by 27-year old adults.

Goals of the program include increasing participants’ awareness of how education level and corresponding career choice influence personal income and financial security, increasing students’ knowledge of money management tools, and to increase participants’ awareness of how income and lifestyle choices affect the amount of money available for discretionary spending.

The program can provide up to four preparatory classroom lessons.

Classroom topics include training, jobs, and income, deductions – what you see is not what you get, how to use financial services wisely and making choices – preparing for the simulation.

Participating in these lessons prior to the simulation helps students prepare their checkbook register based on their selected or assigned occupation and corresponding salaries.

Students record the gross salary in their checkbook register and subtract taxes, then insurance and savings.

They also make note of their credit card and student load debt.

Once they have established their total net monthly income, they are ready to participate in the spending simulation.

They will assume their role as the 27-year-old adult, spending their net salaries on items and services found in a typical monthly budget such as food, housing, utilities, child care and clothing and they have to track their spending along the way.

The main objective of the spending simulation is to help students develop a much better understanding of the importance of making careful spending decisions and the importance of securing a career that will pay a livable income.

Upon completion, students demonstrate awareness and behavior changes related to the costs and benefits of obtaining education or training after high school, costs associated with childcare and the importance of financial stability in child rearing, developing a spending plan that includes both needs and wants, financial decisions that adjust spending to match income and saving money regularly.

OSU Extension, Lawrence County is continuing its efforts to provide youth throughout the county financial education and hopes to reach every student at some point throughout their educational journey.

To set up the program, in-person or virtually, contact the OSU Extension office at 740-533-4322.

Rachael Fraley is the OSU Extension Educator for Lawrence County.