(From WABI TV) – Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC) in Ellsworth hosted a “Fitness Fair” for its students Thursday, but it didn’t involve any running or jumping. Instead, the students at HCTC were introduced to a different kind of fitness, one that’s just as important as physical or emotional fitness.
It’s called a “Financial Fitness Fair,” and at HCTC Thursday it was one of around 20 that the Maine Credit Union League puts on every year, all across Maine.
“Students are coming in, they’re choosing a career they’re most interested in pursuing in real life, we assign them an income, and then the fun part starts,” said Maine Credit Union League Financial Literacy Outreach Coordinator Jake Holmes. “They have to pay for expenses the average adult is faced with each month, with the end goal being that they spend less than they earn. I’m seeing a lot of critical thinking today, which is really the best part.”
From a finance standpoint, it’s Adulting 101.
“The expenses range from housing, transportation, student loans,” Holmes said. “We have things like food, cell phones; all that good stuff and more.”
HCTC Director Bill Tracy said having the fair come to the school ensures each student gets a personalized experience on what their budget could be, and what life could look like after high school depending on what financial choices they make.
“Students I think have this idea that, ‘Yup, I’ve got this amount of money, just mathematically do it out and I’m all set,’” Tracy said. “Well the reality is, planning for those contingencies, thinking about, ‘Well, I want to be able to have this type of car,’ when you start to plan that into what type of job you get versus what skill training you get, versus what you want to spend on food—are you going to order out every night, are you going to make your meals. I don’t think that’s something that’s necessarily thought of on a daily basis. So I think that level of detail, they can start to look at it from a common sense perspective. Having them experience it now in high school, before they get out into the work world is such a great opportunity.”
Maine Credit Union League has been hosting Financial Fitness Fairs since 2004, with over 70,000 Maine students having participated in that time. They don’t intend to stop any time soon.
“Real life, if you will- getting a job, graduating- it’s just a few short years away,” said Holmes. “And if we can equip them with the knowledge and the financial foundation to succeed, that’s good for everyone.”
If your school or organization is interested in hosting a “Financial Fitness Fair, visit mainecreditunions.org.