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Mad City Money gives students financial realities
LONG BEACH, Calif. (3/9/12)--Eighty-five California high school students participating in the Upward Bound Program experienced real world responsibility during a Mad City Money financial simulation Feb.18 at California State University of Long Beach.

"I learned to put things you need in front of things you want," commented one student, as Kinecta FCU volunteers introduced 85 California high school students to the real world of budgeting in the Mad City Money simulation held Feb. 18 at California State University of Long Beach. (Photo provided by CUNA)
Mad City Money is a simulation game created by the Credit Union National Association where students are "transported" into Mad City. They must manage all of their financial responsibilities on their own. Participants are given jobs and yearly salaries and are then allowed to buy cars, feed their families and make the types of financial decisions adults make every day.

The event was sponsored by Kinecta FCU, a $3.12 billion asset credit union in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and the Upward Bound Program, a federal program that serves high school students from low-income families and provides opportunities to pursue higher education.

"In a society where the first principles of money management have been taken out of so many classrooms, Mad City Money gives students a chance to make mistakes and have a 'do over' in a fun and forgiving environment," said Latrice McGlothin, Kinecta community programs manager.

For many students, the two-hour simulation was an exercise in trial and error. "Don't live outside of your budget," one student advised after taking part in Mad City Money. Another stated, "The real world is not a game." One student was taken aback by the amount of debt one can accumulate so quickly. "I should have taken time to see all of what I needed to purchase before I started," he said. As in ordinary life, expenses in Mad City tended to add up.

"Financial workshops like Mad City Money are paramount in helping students experience life lessons without the pain that can come along with the dramatic events in the real world," McGlothin said. "I'm confident that the mistakes our students made in the simulation will become the smart choices they make tomorrow."


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