Financial Reality Fairs

Credit unions host interactive financial reality fairs for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.

A Financial Reality Fair is an interactive financial education experience for high school students and young adults hosted by credit unions. Participants identify, or are assigned, a job and a starting salary based on the marketplace. They visit mock merchants and try to live within their monthly salary while paying for essentials such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. There are many opportunities for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs. In fact, volunteers aggressively up-sell participants and tempt them with vacations and electronics to test their ability to spend responsibly.

Once all the booths have been visited, participants spin the “wheel of reality” which adds an element of surprise that could throw a curve-ball into their budgets with an unplanned expense, or a windfall of cash. To make sure their budgets add up, participants review them with a financial counselor.

For more information, please contact Chrystal Hunter at or 443-325-0772.