Seymour, CT – May 15, 2017–  For most adults, the reality of managing expenses can be a challenge.  For high school students, this “reality” is not far away, but many have yet to experience what it will be like.  Sikorsky Credit Union works to help high school students preview what they will face in the future by sponsoring Financial Reality Fairs.  Students in several local communities were able to glimpse into their future by attending a Financial Reality Fair at their school earlier this spring.  Students at Ansonia, Oxford and Seymour High School all participated in this event at each of their schools, sponsored by Sikorsky Credit Union.  This is the ninth year that Sikorsky Credit Union has held Financial Reality Fairs for students in several local communities.
 
The Financial Reality Fair gives students the opportunity to experience “real-life” finances based on their chosen profession.  During the Reality Fair, students visit expense tables to spend their "hard earned money" on real-life choices, such as housing, transportation, food, and utilities.  They are tempted along the way with nonessential expenses including pet ownership, electronics, concert tickets and vacations.   Students also step up to spin the "Wheel of Reality," which increases or decreases their cash flow and simulates unexpected events and expenses that occur in day-to-day life.  After students visit all of the expense tables, they balance their budgets to see if they made the right choices to successfully live on their own.  Students then meet with volunteer financial counselors who determine how well they managed their budget and give suggestions.  In the end, students walk away with an awareness of the financial challenges they will face and the experience of maintaining a lifestyle based on a budget. 

Dan Ruocco, branch manager of the Seymour office, was a volunteer at this event.  He noted how students develop awareness while he was acting as a financial counselor.  “It is amazing to watch how students begin to recognize the importance of budgeting and saving, and the ‘aha’ moments they have.”  Karen Phipps, Career and Technical Education Lead Teacher at Ansonia High School added: “A large group of our students had the opportunity to experience this beneficial and realistic hands-on budgeting simulation.  The Financial Reality Fair provided an opportunity for our students to experience the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own, and many were amazed of the challenges that lie ahead.  It is a great wake up call.”
 
In addition to these three high schools, Sikorsky Credit Union recently held Reality Fairs at both high schools in Stratford. Next week, a Financial Reality Fair is also taking place at Henry Abbott Tech in Danbury.