What is Reality Town?
Reality Town is a fun, hands-on curriculum for eighth and ninth grade students that culminates in a two hour simulation that is run by your school personnel, during which time students take on a career, salary, spouse, or lack thereof, children and the financial obligations of a 30 year old adult. Armed with their Reality Town Student Handbook, Personalized Pay Stub, which contains all of their personal Reality Town information, and a pen, students are responsible for making financial decisions and standard monthly expenditures for their Reality Town family. Students must budget and meet all of the basic needs of their family, including housing, transportation, groceries, childcare, clothing, insurance, etc., as they make purchases and decisions at each of the 22 different Reality Town businesses. Students learn to put needs before wants as they try to juggle all of their financial responsibilities and are encouraged to take great thought as to the lifestyle they are establishing for themselves and their family. Reality Town is truly a life-changing experience for students as they see firsthand the financial obligations that await them and the oftentimes difficult decisions that must be made as an adult.
What Do Students Learn From Reality Town?
The Reality Town program is a great motivator and eye-opening experience, as students learn many financial and life concepts including:
- Financial Concepts including Budgeting & Accounting for their spending
- Payroll Withholding’s including Federal & State Taxes, FICA & Medicare
- Principles of Debt & Savings and the Impact of Interest
- Importance of putting “Needs” before “Wants”
- Goal Setting, Education Planning & Career Planning
- Benefits of Education on Future Earnings & Lifestyle
- Respect for their current Educational Opportunities
- Appreciation for the Financial Responsibilities of their Parent(s)/Guardian(s)
The adaptability of the Reality Town program also allows you to address the financial consequence of community specific trends such as divorce, teen-pregnancy, low academic performance, and school drop-outs, as well as the positive concepts of financial preparedness, savings, and higher education.
Reality Town is a great way to encourage students to look beyond the here and now of school and to look toward their own futures. The program illustrates to students the need to do their best in order to be successful and provides students with a glimpse into the life of their parents or guardians, and their effect on their own families.
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