NJ Credit Unions Bring Financial Reality Fair To Elizabeth School

NJ Credit Union League President/CEO Mr. Greg Michlig, NAF AOF Students, and Mr. Gibardi. (Photo courtesy of New Jersey Credit Union League)

NJ Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig, NAF AOF Students, and John C. Gibardi, president of the Entertainment Industries Federal Credit Union. (Photo courtesy of New Jersey Credit Union League)

ELIZABETH – Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy held a Financial Reality Fair on Friday, June 7, which was sponsored by the New Jersey Credit Union League. This  interactive program that allowed students to get a feel for real-life budgeting and understanding the importance of saving money and spending wisely.

John C. Gibardi, president of the Entertainment Industries Federal Credit Union, is a member of the High School’s NAF AOF Advisory Board. He offered this unique opportunity to the administration which provided all 200 students with hands on Budgeting and Financial Literacy Education.

In this program, students choose a career and find their starting salary in that field, students will be provided a monthly budget worksheet. They then pretended to go through “life”, stopping by booths set up in the school’s lobby to purchase cars, rent homes, finance furniture, etc. Their goal for the fair is to stay within budget and have money left in their pockets after paying all their bills for the month and making some extra purchases along the way. Financial counselors took the time with each student at the end of the period, to go over the students’ monthly expenses and one-time purchases, offering advice and guidance. All 200 students from freshman to seniors completed their budgets and approximately 75 percent of them ended with money in their savings accounts.

Students worked with over 20 volunteers financing cars and furniture, figuring out living situations, and sometimes making some extravagant purchases along the way, marking them all down on their budget worksheets. Students then spun the Wheel of Reality, a wheel that could either help or hurt their finances with real-life situations such as having to pay for car repairs or receiving a bonus at work.

Susana Monteiro, Chair of the NAF AOF Advisory Board stated that, “When Mr. Gibardi mentioned this program to the board, we knew we could not pass up this opportunity. The high school will have its first graduating class this year and what better program to offer the seniors prior to graduation, than a real life budgeting day. We are confident that these students will leave Halsey with the skills and information needed to successfully manage their salaries and college funds.”

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