Can I Afford That? Coastal Bend Credit Unions Give Teens ‘Reality Check’ with Financial Reality Fair

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Collegiate High School students will get an important lesson in money management on May 15, thanks to the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions

“Too many students are learning to live beyond their means, because only a fraction of them are learning to manage their personal finances..."

On May 15th, Collegiate High School students will get an important lesson in money management, thanks to the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions (Chapter). Several credit unions within the Chapter participate in the Texas Credit Union League’s (League) REAL Solutions initiative, and as a REAL Solutions participant, the Chapter has access to a turn-key financial education reality fair at no cost.

The CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair was developed by the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Credit Union League.

Nearly 200 junior and senior students from the high school are expected to participate in the May 15 “CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair” being held at Del Mar College in the East Campus Harvin Center Retama Room. The event begins at 9 a.m. for senior students and 1 p.m. for junior students.

Sponsored by the Chapter, the CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair is a culminating, day-long event that will give participants a chance to see how career selection impacts their financial well-being and their life choices. Through this simulated real-world environment, participants will create a spending plan based on a salary and juggle needs versus wants to make sure they are living within their means.

Participants will meet with representatives of auto dealerships, realtors, lenders, utility providers, retailers and others to help them understand the real expenses they will face in adulthood and the choices they’ll need to make to avoid falling in to debt. The exercise reinforces the importance of sound money management and brings students one step closer to the types of financial pitfalls they may encounter in the “real world.”

“Spending money has never been easier than it is today, especially for America’s young people,” said David Villarreal, Chapter president. “Too many students are learning to live beyond their means, because only a fraction of them are learning to manage their personal finances in school.”

The CU 4 Reality curriculum, Villarreal says, creates a fun and interactive learning environment where students can practice specific financial management skills and learn early on the consequences of getting in over their head when it comes to financial matters.

“One of our missions of the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions is to provide financial education to our youth,” said Villarreal, “We hope to be a resource to teachers and work with them to implement these important financial management lessons into the curriculum in our schools.

REAL Solutions stands for Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing solutions. Mike Delker, senior vice president with the League says the financial education fairs are being made available to Texas REAL Solutions credit unions at no charge because of support received from the League, Texas Credit Union Foundation, the Friends of Consumer Freedom and the National Credit Union Foundation (National Foundation).

“Texas credit unions have long been champions of financial education,” notes Delker. “And it is through these generous partnerships that we are able to support our member credit unions in their efforts to provide much needed financial education in our local schools and communities.”

About the Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions: The Coastal Bend Chapter of Credit Unions is an organization of 22 credit unions located within the counties of Nueces, San Patricio, Kleberg, Aransas, Refugio, and Jim Wells. These credit unions serve nearly 200,000 people and boast combined asset of nearly $2 billion.

About Texas Credit Union League: The Texas Credit Union League is the state trade association serving more than 500 credit unions in Texas. Organized in 1934, the Texas Credit Union League supports credit unions, not-for-profit, member-owned, volunteer-directed cooperatives, which in turn are owned by over 7 million members. For more information, visit http://www.tcul.coop.

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Linda Webb-Manon
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