Cazenovia Business classes and local credit union representatives from Empower Federal Credit Union will host Mad City Money, a financial simulation that allows Cazenovia and Chittenango business students to take on the role of an adult in futuristic Mad City, where they will get real world “financial reality check” complete with: occupation, salary, spouse and/or children, student loan debt, credit card debt, and auto and medical insurance payments. Endorsed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the Mad City Money event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at Cazenovia High School Auxiliary Gymnasium.
Each of the 75 high school seniors will build a monthly budget based on income, identify and experience the consequences of good or poor financial decisions and develop improved spending habits. Along the way, they’ll visit nine Mad City merchants to gain hands-on experience in purchasing housing, transportation, food, day care and other needs. Participants will use debit cards for their purchases and must balance both their debit card registers and their budgets.
Mad City also has a credit union office where participants can stop in for guidance with their financial budgeting.
“Most young people are surprised to find out they may not be able to afford a big house and a new car when they get their first job,” said Cheryl Johnson Welles, Empower Federal Credit Union’s Financial Education Officer, who will be offering students financial assistance and advice designed to get them thinking about their own future.
To keep things interesting, Cazenovia High School’s business teacher, Christina New, will also act as The Fickle Finger of Fate by randomly visiting each participant during the simulation to distribute unexpected windfalls and unplanned expenses.
“It’s all about helping young people gain the knowledge and confidence they will need to take responsibility for themselves and their family in the future,” Welles said. “The first step is understanding that budgeting is necessary to good money management and the key to their future financial stability.”
The program is currently seeking community volunteers for the event in the areas of real estate, car buying, day care and retail. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Christina New via email at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.