March 2018


More than 200 students from Lansdowne High School in Baltimore County got a dose of financial reality when they participated in a Reality Fair sponsored by SECU, First Financial Credit Union, and the Maryland-DC Credit Union Association.

Held at SECU Arena on Wednesday, March 14, the Reality Fair will gave students a chance to see how they would manage their own personal finances while balancing the many financial challenges life throws their way.

“The Reality Fair gives student participants an engaging, interactive experience in managing their own money and making smart, informed financial decisions that ultimately help them once they become adults,” says SECU President and CEO Rod Staatz.

Just like in the real world, students had to make decisions that affect their finances, including what their housing costs will be, what kind of car they can afford, and what kinds of food they should buy each week. They also had to juggle living within their means with discretionary spending on things like entertainment, pets, gym memberships, and other items that, while nice, are not always practical.

In addition, students had to spin the “wheel of life,” which gave them some experience in handling unforeseen circumstance, like car repairs, job losses, and unexpected illness, that make it tough to stay on budget.

Volunteers from the credit unions were on hand throughout the Reality Fair to support the students and then help them in reviewing their decisions, balancing their budgets, and deciding how they could improve their money management skills.

SECU has a long history of supporting financial education, especially for young people. The financial literacy programs SECU supports include the Howard County Applications and Research Lab (ARL) and Washington High School Millionaire's Clubs; the Maryland Coalition for Financial Literacy; and the Maryland Council on Economic Education.

Over the past year, nearly 500 students from Academy of Finance programs at Lansdowne, Randallstown, Sparrows Point, and Overlea High Schools, as well as Morgan State and Towson Universities, have participated in Reality Fairs.

Ray Weiss or Jessica Tiller
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