“Mad City Money” simulation provides Cazenovia HS juniors and seniors with insights and motivation for shaping a solid financial future
(Cazenovia, NY) When you were in high school, did you have a firm grasp on the upcoming financial realities of buying a home, raising a family, planning for a sound financial future and dealing with unexpected expenses? For most teenagers, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!To help reverse this trend, the Cazenovia Personal and Business Finance class, school officials and local credit union representatives hosted “Mad City Money”, a fun and informative financial simulation that allowed young people to take on the role of an adult in futuristic Mad City, where they got a real world “financial reality check” complete with: occupation, salary, spouse and/or children, student loan debt, credit card debt, and auto & medical insurance payments. Endorsed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the Mad City Money event was held Tuesday, January 13th from 8:00-12:00 PM at Cazenovia High School Aux. Gymnasium. Each of the 50 students built a monthly budget based on income, were able to identify and experience the consequences of poor financial decisions, and developed improved spending habits. Along the way, they visited Mad City merchants to gain hands-on experience in purchasing housing, transportation, food, day care, and other needs. Participants used debit cards for their purchases and balanced both their debit card registers and their budgets. Mad City also had a “credit union office” where participants could stop in for guidance with their financial budgeting. “Most young people are surprised to find out they may not be able to afford a big house and a new car when they get their first job,” says a Focal Point’s Syracuse-area Business Development Representative, who along with Thom Dellwo of Syracuse Cooperative FCU offered students financial assistance and advice designed to get them thinking about their own future. To keep things interesting, Mrs. Christina New, the Cazenovia Business teacher, also acted as The Fickle Finger of Fate by randomly visiting each participant during the simulation to distribute unexpected windfalls and unplanned expenses. “It’s all about helping young people gain the knowledge and confidence they will need to take responsibility for themselves and their family in the future,” New pointed out, “The first step is understanding that budgeting is necessary to good money management and the key to their future financial stability.” Special thank you’s to parents from Cazenovia, who volunteered: Janet Olsen, Jackie Wilson, Peter Herbert, John Haley, and Beth Race and also to Chary Griffin (local real estate agent). The rest of the adult volunteers were from the Focal Point Credit Union.