The NFECs’ “Real Money Experience” Financial Literacy Workshop Gives High School Students an Eye-opening Preview of Future Finances

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More than 120 teens learn essential financial literacy skills at an entertaining, fun financial literacy workshop hosted by the National Financial Educators Council: the Real Money Experience.

RMX money managment workshop participants

Simon Scholars participating in the Real Money Experience financial literacy workshop at Chapman University

A National Financial Educators Council financial education event entertained more than 120 high school students at the Simon Family Foundation’s annual Summer Conference, held at Chapman University in Orange, California. Instead of having instructors teaching personal finance, these students participated in the Real Money Experience (RMX), a hands-on financial literacy workshop.

During the Real Money Experience, Simon Scholars visited twelve separate booths and practiced making the life decisions they’re likely to face when they move away from home. Participants went through the process of completing personal budgets as they visited the stations and interacted with over 15 volunteers. Students practiced deciding types of cars they wanted, how much they wanted to save, whether they would rent living spaces alone or with roommates, desired lifestyles, investment strategies, and other choices designed to prepare them to head off to college.

The Simon Family Foundation hosts several events throughout the year to facilitate student interaction and provide intensive training to prepare these young people for college and for life. The 2011 Summer Conference served more than 120 current Scholars and alumni during its three-day duration. The NFEC’s experiential financial literacy program was one of many conference highlights.

Past attendees expressed various reactions to the Real Money Experience financial literacy workshop. As one Simon Scholar commented, “I was pretty clueless about money. But now I feel confident in myself that I actually have an idea how to handle my money.” From another Scholar, “I like how they made these games fun because I thought this would be boring, but now I'm thrilled to learn this.”

The RMX money management workshop is a part of the Financial EduNation national financial literacy campaign and designed around financial education and core subject standards. Experiential learning techniques improve participant interest while effectively teaching skills to make financial decisions that align with the participants’ personal goals. The NFEC program has proven to increase participant retention rates, and attendees leave the event motivated to continue learning about money.

As part of the Simon Scholar program, the Simon Family Foundation offers college tuition along with training and support that equips the Scholars to succeed—inside and outside the classroom, in college and beyond. Simon Scholars begin the program as high school juniors; they participate in life skills training, academic preparation, and team-building activities with their Simon Scholar peers until high school graduation. Then Simon Scholars enter college with enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem, greatly increasing their odds of receiving at least a Bachelor’s degree.

The NFEC developed the Real Money Experience Event, Educator Training, and Financial EduNation campaign to foster positive personal financial habits among youth. The NFEC is a social enterprise organization that is teaching money management to organizations worldwide. Their mission is to empower people of all ages with the knowledge necessary to make financial decisions that can improve their lives, now and in the future.

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Cecile Abad
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