Financial literacy opportunity for juniors

JENNA TAORMINA, Staff Writer/ Editor

For the first time, Gloucester High School juniors have been invited to participate in the sixth annual Credit for Life fair at Masconomet High School.

The free fair, held this year on April 5, was designed to teach students about financial literacy and planning for the future. The first 125 juniors to sign up for the fair will be allowed to attend.  Lunch will also be provided and catered by the Port City Sandwich Company.

“Being alone is hard, whether you’re 18, 20, or 25,” said Maryanne Clancy, Vice President at the Institute for Savings which funds the fair. “We need to teach graduates how to manage their money because no one else does.”

Juniors from Ipswich, Newburyport, Beverly, Rockport, Pentucket Regional, Triton Regional, and Masconomet High Schools will also be attending the event.

Before students even arrive at the venue, they are asked to pick a profession in which they are interested. Workers, who help run the fair, then set a yearly income for them based on their job of choice and put it into a portfolio which includes a budget sheet, fake credit card, pencils and a calculator.

“We developed this event to teach high school juniors how to live financially in the real world before they really do,” said Clancy.

Students are allowed to walk around the fair alone, or have a “roommate” with whom they walk around and spend their budgets together.

Then, on the day of the fair, students will go around to each of the fifteen booths and “spend” their monthly budget. The booths include housing, transportation, furniture, health and wellness, utilities, clothing, food and nutrition, savings and retirement, community service, education and training, safety and security, part-time jobs, and credit counseling.

At the safety and security booth, resource officers from each attending school will talk about issues such as identification theft and texting and driving.

“You can get ‘fined’ for not wearing a seat belt or to receive a ticket. Or, they can be called over for doing something good,” said Clancy.

At the “Fun Fun Fun” booth, students can “buy” trips and vacations. Another booth, called “Reality Check,” students can spin a wheel and the unexpected can happen.

Juniors interested in attending the event should talk to Ms. Lysen to receive a permission slip.