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‘Credit for Life Fair’ allows Georgetown High seniors to plan for the real world

Georgetown seniors chose an occupation and made a variety of financial decisions, including where to live, saving for retirement, transportation options and purchasing insurance.

Georgetown seniors got a dose of reality last week at the Credit for Life Fair.

On Jan. 26, the class of 2018 partook in an interactive simulation of saving, spending and budgeting based on career choices and lifestyle decisions. Students chose an occupation and made a variety of financial decisions, including where to live, saving for retirement, transportation options and purchasing insurance.

This is an interactive student budget process, said GMHS business teacher and fair co-coordinator Lisa Ryan, and it really brings it to life for them.

All students entered the Perley School gym with a gross monthly income of $3,250, or $39,000 per year, and a credit score. They had to calculate their net income after taxes and then visit several different stations to choose their living situation, insurance, personal care, vacations, etc. Each table was staffed by parents, teachers and real-life experts from the particular industry, who presented the kids with multiple options and associated costs.

For example, at the Housing booth, manned by Kelly Davarenne of EXIT Realty, Brandon Pratt of Cross Country Mortgage and Tamara Schofield of RE/MAX Realty, students had four different living options.

1) Studio apartment in a not-so-great part of town for $530 per month;

2) Studio apartment in a better part of town for $680 per month;

3) A one-bedroom apartment, living alone for $845 per month;

4) Sharing a two-bedroom apartment for $1,050 per month.

Im impressed how responsible the kids are being, said “Travel” booth volunteer Cheryl Lachendro.

Just like the board game, life can throw us a curve ball every now and again, and the students were asked to spin the Reality Check wheel, serving up a fender bender, broken bones, the adoption of a pet or a gym refund, among others. And best slow down, as Officer Henry Olshefsky, with his flashing light, was busy handing out tickets. Associated costs or monies back were added to the students monthly planning worksheet.

Students seemed to be enjoying themselves and learning some valuable life lessons.

Honestly, I thought it would be more expensive, said Paul Sousa, planning to study forensic science at the University of New Haven.

Ive learned the value of insurance, said Tom Long after breaking his leg and crashing his car at the Reality Check Wheel.

Our biggest expenses were vacations and clothes, but weve learned that essentials are more important than luxury items, agreed Emma Dunlevy and Molly Christoper after being ticketed for speeding by Officer O.

I assumed it would be expensive, and I was right! said Autumn Douglas, who plans to go to college but is undecided as to her major.

Ive learned that you have to cut back on things that you are not used to spending money on. My parents currently pay my phone bill and thats not going to be the case when Im on my own, said Genevive Moore, who wants to work in finance and live in Boston or New York City.

We learned that we dont have as much money as we thought, and that its very easy to break legs, said David Collins, who plans to study electrical engineering.

This is the first time the Credit For Life Fair has been held. Fair coordinators Mary Lyon and Lisa Ryer, both business teachers at GMHS, said they received a $5,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasurers Office Innovation Group and this, coupled with the volunteers, allowed them to hold the event.

We have a great group of volunteers, said Lyon. They have all donated their time and expertise and helped to make this event possible.

The fair was only open to seniors, but Lyon and Ryer both indicated they would like to be able to open it up to lower classes if possible for next year.

Article source: http://georgetown.wickedlocal.com/news/20180130/credit-for-life-fair-allows-georgetown-high-seniors-to-plan-for-real-world

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