Harrisburg and Wormleysburg, PA (February 24, 2020) – How much does it really cost to buy your groceries, rent and furnish your apartment, or care for your dog? Can you afford to pay for your dream car on a starting salary, or will you have to compromise? Is it realistic to splurge on a shopping spree or a day at the spa? These are just a few of the questions that students in grades 7-12, accompanied by their parents, will be faced with during participation in a Financial Reality Fair sponsored by PSECU on February 29. Held on campus at Harrisburg Academy from 1-3 p.m., this event is free and open to the public, and will offer participating students what may prove to be a much-needed, real-world financial management, and personal budgeting simulation.
“During a Financial Reality Fair, students are assigned a budget and credit score. They then progress through a series of booths where they make choices about things like housing, transportation, entertainment, and more. Staying within the given parameters, their goal is to end the exercise with a balanced budget, or better, have money to spare,” said PSECU Consumer Education Strategist Sara Weiser. “The lessons learned by this highly useful financial education and skill-building activity are often surprising for students, and it really helps prepare them for future financial success. As the state’s largest credit union, we’re pleased to partner with Harrisburg Academy to offer this opportunity to the greater Harrisburg community.”
With the help of volunteers from PSECU and Harrisburg Academy, the Financial Reality Fair is designed to be a highly interactive experience for student participants. Each student will receive a budgeting worksheet containing salary information based on randomly selected careers and levels of education. They’ll then visit a series of booths to learn about and make choices pertaining to living expenses, from housing and transportation to insurance. To end the activity with a balanced budget, students are encouraged to revisit each booth as many times as needed.
“We are very excited to be partnering with PSECU on this year’s Financial Reality Fair,” said Ben Murphy, Head of Middle and Upper Schools for Harrisburg Academy. “We are looking forward to welcoming the Harrisburg area community to the Academy for this engaging family event where middle and high school students have the opportunity to learn how to budget and manage living expenses for the first time as they look toward their future going into college and beyond.”
This marks the first time that PSECU will offer a Financial Reality Fair event to the general public. It is also the credit union’s first time targeting a middle school audience as opposed to high school and university-aged students.
“We made the decision to expand our Financial Reality Fair outreach to a younger age group because we believe that a strong financial understanding is important for everyone and that it’s never too early to start learning,” added Weiser. “WalletWorks, our financial education program, our special youth savings rate, and the PSECU Savings app are just a few of the resources we offer, in addition to the fairs, that can help youth build their money management skillset.”
Throughout 2019, 589 participants completed surveys about their experiences at PSECU-hosted Financial Reality Fairs at East Stroudsburg University, Harrisburg Academy, HACC’s Harrisburg campus, Millersville University, and Shippensburg University. They were asked questions about skills they acquired, thoroughness and clarity of information provided, and likelihood of event recommendation to peers. The survey results were overwhelmingly positive with each question receiving an average score of at least 4.5 out of a maximum score of 5.
In July 2018, PSECU and Harrisburg Academy announced a partnership to support student needs. In addition to PSECU membership eligibility for the entire Harrisburg Academy community – students, staff, faculty, and family - through the five-year agreement, PSECU will provide Harrisburg Academy with financial education resources, like the Financial Reality Fair, and $15,000 in scholarship assistance.
About Harrisburg Academy
Established in 1784, Harrisburg Academy is the 17th oldest non-public school in the nation and Harrisburg’s only independent school. Our coed, diverse school community inspires students from age three through 12th grade by providing an academically challenging and globally minded liberal arts education focused on dynamic classroom experiences, strong student outcomes, and a commitment to character development. The Academy proudly stands as the first school in the greater Harrisburg area to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program and merit scholarship. For more information about Harrisburg Academy, please visit our website or contact Andrianna Dowell at 717-763-7811 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.