Look back to when you first became financially independent. Do you remember the challenges of taking on new responsibilities that your parents made look so easy during your younger years? When it came time to purchase a home or file taxes on your own, did you know where to start? How about filing your first loan? Were you aware of the total cost of borrowing, or even how to determine the term appropriate for your situation?
Oftentimes as children grow up they are never exposed to these critical decisions almost everyone needs to make in their adult lives. These basic financial lessons are generally overlooked, but the more we take notice in the lack of financial education for our youth, the greater impact we can make.
Pure Financial Advisors, Inc. is proud to have the opportunity to support Junior Achievement (JA) of San Diego’s new Finance Park. Susan Brandeis, CFP® and Director of Financial Planning recently spent the day at the Finance Park to help empower students to take control of their financial futures. The park was designed to teach high school students the importance of personal finance and budgeting through an enhanced real-world setting, while offering the tools and inspiration to help them discover a career worth pursuing.
JA San Diego opened this state-of-the-art, high-tech and paperless facility in September 2015, serving as the brother institution to the main experiential learning program called JA Biztown.
As students visit the Finance Park they enter the “situation room” where they receive a profile and life situation. This includes details of their adult life – including marital status, number of children, employment, income, taxes, educational background and even a FICO credit score. The students are given a salary based on what job they chose before entering the situation room. After receiving a debit card, the students enter the business park where they are guided through the process of purchasing a home and car, signing a mortgage, making investments and saving for their future. At the end of the day, students are required to meet the monthly budget they created for themselves. This is when reality hits.
Throughout the day, everyone was having a great time picking out their dream cars, finding a nice home near the beach – just dreaming of pure luxury. However, as the day went on and it came time to purchase items like insurance, the students began to realize they were running out of money. Was purchasing a dream car really worth it if it meant living in a shack? Through this exercise, the students were faced with challenges we face as adults on a daily basis. Real world situations were teaching the students the true value of a dollar and responsibilities that come with growing up.
When asking Susan about why she is so passionate about the new Finance Park in San Diego she replied,
“Once I graduated from college and was on my own, I didn’t know how much simple things cost like housing, water, gas and electric…that was a big shock. I never had a class that taught me the importance of personal finance during high school or college. What’s lacking is the real-world experience, and that’s exactly what this program provides.”
There are few programs of this kind where kids learn how to get a job, manage money and plan for their futures – all in one day. JA makes it possible by providing a hands-on experience that also ties in factors that young people often neglect to consider – like credit debt, retirement saving and taxes.
The goal of JA Finance Park is to help build financially strong futures for young individuals who might lack the proper education required to make it on their own after finishing school. When asked how her experience was as a volunteer, Susan says, “It was very inspiring to see these young students so engaged and excited about the experience. It opened their eyes to the world of finance and motivated them to seek a career they would feel confident and passionate about.”
Pure Financial supports the goals and initiatives of Junior Achievement, and plans on becoming more involved by sponsoring a high school class in the near future.
For more information on the Junior Achievement of San Diego County & how you can get more involved, click here.