UK Students to Learn Realities of Personal Finance Firsthand

Lexington, KY - Thanks to some local business people and other experts, University of Kentucky students will learn about personal finance through an interesting and fun simulation experience. The event allows students to interact with adults from the various financial sectors they will encounter in “real life” after graduation.

“It’s Your Reality” will be held at the UK Student Center on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, from 11 am to 2 pm. Any UK student can participate at no charge.

Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Extension Professor for Family Financial Management, and Katie Keith, Cooperative Extension Associate, have been working for the last six to seven months to create the event. It’s adapted from a Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Program.

Funds for the event came from UK’s College of Agriculture. “It’s part of the “Managing in Tough Times” program that Dean Scott Smith put together to help Kentuckians recover from the recession,” Hunter said.

Hunter gets a lot of questions from the students who take her Family Financial Management course. The financial simulation event will allow students to “see the types of decisions they’ll have to make and how student loans they have will affect their decisions,” she said.

Hunter expects that the students who take time to participate will realize “they have to prioritize their needs over their wants.”

“It’s Your Reality” will feature some 20 booths to show students the typical types of financial expenses they will encounter. Their first stop, the employment booth, will determine their paychecks, based on the average starting salary for their fields of study.

Then the students visit each booth, deciding how much of their income to “spend” on that section of their budget. Expenditures at one booth—Uncle Sam—aren’t optional, but may be an unpleasant surprise to some students.

At the banking booth, just as at a real bank, the students will have to pay fees for opening accounts and getting checks. There they can consult Megin Morgan, Member Development Specialist at UK’s Federal Credit Union.

Morgan said the Credit Union staff members sometimes do financial education on campus and serve as “a resource for UK 101 instructors, if they want a person to talk about money management.”

Having participated in a 4-H financial program for middle schoolers, Morgan is looking forward to this event. She expects the UK students to have questions about credit and credit scores. “They’re so new to it and may just have gotten a credit card.”

Ben Bransom, secretary and partner at Kentucky Insurance Agency, will help students at the insurance booth. He hasn’t had the opportunity to be involved with such an event, but readily agreed to volunteer his time.

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