On April 7, TruMark Financial® Credit Union held its first in-person Financial Reality Fair since the pandemic at La Salle University. Students experienced what it would be like to have a career and budget their salary on a monthly basis.
Armed with a worksheet complete with a career, salary, savings and checking accounts, credit card, and a student loan, more than 150 students decided how much money to spend on essentials such as housing, transportation, insurance, food, entertainment, and more. For many students it was an “aha” moment to learn how their parents prioritize monthly expenses.
As part of the exercise students also visited the “Wheel of Reality” where a spin of the wheel could bring good fortune such as a bonus at work or bad fortune such as unexpected car repairs. Following their selections, students met with financial counselors who reviewed their worksheets and advised them on adjustments that might be necessary to live within their salary constraints.
Representatives from local businesses and credit unions manned the booths and helped guide students to make informed choices. Students seemed more conservative with their transportation selections this year, shying away from the SUV options and resorting to smaller cars with more affordable monthly payments. Many students commented they didn’t want to be saddled with a car loan payment and opted to use public transportation. It makes one wonder if the pandemic has impacted students’ spending habits or has the younger generation become more financially literate.