Imagine this: You’re a high school student who has just been transported into the future. Some of you have just graduated from college or technical school. Some of you are married. All of you already have kids. You’ve just started your first full-time, professional job. You’re earning money and have bills to pay. Now you have to select housing, transportation, food, household necessities, clothing, day care, and other wants and needs. Lots of choices to make! Oh, and you need to build a budget based on your income and debt. Welcome to Mad City Money!
On May 7, Colfax High School teachers, community members, and area business leaders recently teamed up to present “Mad City Money” a personal finance simulation, sponsored by WESTconsin Credit Union and coordinated by teachers Lisa Neuburg and Kara Zutter. High School students created a budget based on their income and bills, then integrated their knowledge of money, math skills, attitudes about choices, and money values as they visited various stations hosted by community volunteers and business leaders.
Prior to the May 7th event, approximately all juniors and seniors were prepared to put their financial skills to the test. Each student entered the event with a randomly selected occupation, family status and a monthly income – which in itself can be an exercise in reality as fate often changes the best made plans. In fact, volunteer Pam Dietsche played a hand in tossing fate to students – a welcome windfall of extra money and just as likely, an unexpected car repair.
Volunteers were ready to assist students in purchasing life’s necessities — housing, transportation, groceries and more. Various volunteers tried to talk students into buying the higher end products. Some students stuck to their budget, others fell victim to another example of reality – buying what we want but may not need. Students found it to be a real eye opener about real life expenses and the challenges of living within a budget.
If you would like more information regarding the Mad City Money program, please contact Lori Ausman, WESTconsin Credit Union at 715/235-3403, ext. 7724, or Kara Zutter and Lisa Neuburg at Colfax High School, 715-962-3155.