High school seniors plan for the future | NevadaAppeal.com

High school seniors plan for the future

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com

High school seniors in Northern Nevada — including those attending Churchill County High School — are receiving a dose of reality as they figure out household and personal budgets outside the protective walls of education and living at home.

Financial Horizons Credit Union, with assistance from Greater Nevada Credit Union outside of Fallon, has been visiting various economics or business classes teaching students how to do a better job of planning their finances.

From various fundraisers conducted at the four Financial Horizons locations, the credit union has been able to purchase portfolios and other supplies to give to students. Within each portfolio is a set of requirements that include occupation and salary, family requirements, bills including student loans, furniture and appliance purchases, rent and food. Then each student visits a station specializing in one of the budget areas by using a set amount of money to make purchases.

"They love it, it's like an epidemic," said Angela Guthrie of Financial Horizons, adding the presentation has already been done in Carson City, Reno, Yerington and now Fallon.

Guthrie and Andrea Cavanaugh explained the "Bite of Reality" program:

Students receive a portfolio with a budget worksheet based on monthly income from two people in the household. Students then visit each station with a corresponding worksheet to make a required purchase depending on the amount they can spend.

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"They need to have enough money to purchase one thing at each table," Cavanaugh said.

Students write checks to the "name" at each table such as housing and utilities. Yet, there is a catch.

"If you run out of money, you need to return items," Guthrie added.

Guthrie said the program has been going from high school to high school for a year, but the planning for the program took a year and a half to implement.

At Churchill County High School, Financial Horizons staff presented two seminars, but according to Guthrie, the school asked them to return later in the spring.

Cheryl Venturacci, CCHS's office manager, said the students were conscientious in their planning and learned much from the process although they became frustrated with the limitations.

Keith Lund teaches personal finance as part of his business math class. Along with another instructor, Sara Camper, they have 86 students in the program.

"We both do something like this in class called 'Pay your Bills,'" Lund said. "But this is a little more involved."

Camper said the Financial Horizons presentation reinforces what she and Lund teach. She also said students participation in the program and working on a budget tend to thank their parents more, especially when budgets are tight.

"It gives credence of students living longer with their parents," he said.

Michael Fiddler, a student in Camper's class, said planning monthly expenses is "scary."

"Having kids puts a big hurt on you," Fiddler said of his scenario that required him to pay for childcare. "It's a lot to pay for food and housing."

Fiddler thought for a minute and then echoed his teacher's remarks.

"It's not so bad at home," he said.

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