Students get 'real life' lesson in money

Students get 'real life' lesson in money

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Dozens of high school kids got an experience in life, learning skills in income and money management at Eastern Idaho Technical College.

An EITC classroom was transformed into "Reality Town," populated dozens of volunteers and 84 eastern Idaho high schoolers.

Andrew Scholes is a senior at Rigby High, but for one day, he was a 30-year-old psychologist making $54,519 a year.

"I just moved to a new community," Scholes read from his assigned identity. "I have a spouse, and I have three kids."

Like Scholes, each student was given a hypothetical career and family to manage throughout the exercise.

"The students here -- we thought that maybe they needed a little information about how they were going to spend their money when it comes to being an adult," said Irene Jones, who organized the event. "I think they're learning about things that their parents pay for that they didn't realize they had to pay for."

Using a fake checkbook, the goal was to spend wisely.

"My strategy is to keep as much money in my pocket as possible," Scholes said, moments before purchasing a condo.

Some expenses, like housing, were necessary

Other things, like medical expenses, were left to chance.

"Your child needs blood testing," read the card Scholes drew at the "medical center."

Since Scholes had previously purchased insurance, he didn't have to pay for the blood tests.

Then, there were a few extras. Scholes purchased two basic mobile phone plans, and decided not to spend money on manicures for his wife.

After a couple of hours of wandering through that crazy game of life, Scholes came out with money to spare and a lesson learned.

"I learned the art of signing a check," Scholes said. "I learned how to manage my money just a little bit better."

The event was provided for students with a learning disability.

After money management, the kids were treated to lunch provided by Cargill employees, and attended a seminar with a financial adviser. 

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