Updated 05/18/2012 04:15 PM
Solvay High School teaches students to be financially fit
Graduating from college with a mountain of student loan and other debt and an inability to pay it is what millions of young adults today are facing. But what if those young adults learned early in life how to avoid that fate? As YNN's Erin Clarke tells us, that's what the Life Simulation at Solvay High School aimed to do.
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SOLVAY, N.Y. -- Nathan Kight is a computer analyst. He has a wife, an adopted child and must maintain some savings while buying necessities with his family's income.
"It went pretty quickly actually when I started making some of the more important purchases, let alone even the smaller ones, which actually came out to be a lot as well," said Kight.
If Kight looks a little young, that's because he is. He's just a senior at Solvay High School acting out a pretend life in Mad City for the school's Life Simulation.
The students are thrust into a fictional life ten years from today. Each has a job, a family and debt. They have to calculate a budget of how they'll live month to month. The idea is to give students a glimpse into the future and let them see how they'll manage it.
With the average college grad leaving school with about $25,000 of loan debt and not necessarily a job or high paying one waiting in the wings, many find themselves in way over their heads.
"To the extent that I am able to save, I will have enough money for retirement. To the extent that most of my income has to go to debt, I may not be able to retire when I want to. I may not be able to retire at all," said ACMG Federal Credit Union Financial Educator Thomas Dellwo.
Solvay High School's economics teacher thinks if she can shape students' perceptions early, they'll make better decisions later in life.
"We talk to them about important things about establishing credit, establishing things like paying off student loans, other bills and basically how it is to live on your own in the real world," said Solvay High School economics teacher Karen Harmon.
And judging from how the students are spending their money and thinking in Mad City, they're on the right track to a financially fit future.
The Life Simulation is put on with help from ACMG Federal Credit Union. Financial educators work with the high school seniors during the semester, capping their work with this event.