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CUNAs Mad City Money gives students dose of real life
MADISON, Wis. (11/25/08)--Heartland CU sponsored sessions of the Credit Union National Association’s Mad City Money budgeting simulation to more than 1,000 students during Wisconsin’s Money Smart Week last month. The two-and-a-half-hour, hands-on simulation gave students a taste of the real world--complete with an occupation, salary, spouse, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments.
Sally Dischler, president/CEO, Heartland CU, Madison, Wis., helps a student pay his credit card bill as part of the Credit Union National Association’s Mad City Money budgeting simulation last month. (Photo provided by Heartland CU)
With their net income filled in on their budget sheet, students visited nine merchants. They shopped for a home, a car, childcare needs, food and clothing; paid their credit card debt; and deposited money into a savings account at the credit union. The merchants were trained to sell, not assist students in making the right decision. By visiting the merchants, students experienced writing out checks and balancing a checkbook. Also, the Fickle Finger of Fate presented each student with an unexpected windfall and an unexpected expense. The students’ goal was to have less than $100 in their checking accounts. One advantage of a simulation is that the students get to experience the effects of their good and bad spending decisions on the “family” budget without the real-life consequences. “It’s an amazing experience to watch. Some students have little knowledge about how to write checks or budget, while others have had a checking account for many years,” said Sally Dischler, president/CEO of the $146.4 million asset, Madison, Wis.-based credit union. “Often, these kids find themselves with a negative balance after buying their luxury SUVs and have to downsize if they are going to meet their budget. “In the end, they walk away with the realization that life can be expensive,” she added. “One participant exclaimed that after this experience, she didn’t want to grow up."
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