“Live!” High Pressure Budgeting Reality Event for High School Students Live within your means while legislators are watching. Can your reporter do it?


Lynn Heider
503.329.7208 (Mobile)

OLYMPIA, WA — The pressure is on for about 75 high school students during a live, interactive reality budgeting exercise—all done with legislators looking on and your reporters capturing the drama.

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) is sponsoring the Financial Reality Fair during Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Olympia on Feb. 7, while members of the House Education Committee conduct a hearing on financial education legislation (HB 1173) across campus.

Students from three classrooms will arrive knowing only their “job” and “starting salary.” They must figure out on the spot how to pay for housing, transportation, food and clothing while having enough left for entertainment—perhaps a (temporary!) tattoo or regular nail salon visits. Credit union volunteers will act as mock merchants, putting on the hard-sell as the students navigate a maze of temptations. At the end of the exercise they must have balanced budgets.

“It’s fun, but high-pressure,” said Lynn Heider, vice president of public relations and communications for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “The scenario is that you’ve just graduated and been hired into an entry-level job, and you have to live within your means. You have about an hour to make your decisions. Sound easy? If any reporters are interested in going through the exercise, come try it out.”

“Credit unions, as not-for-profit, member-driven cooperatives, value their social missions as much as their economic missions, so they are routinely helping working-class people make their communities better,” said Steve Wilder, who chairs the NWCUF board. “We are having this Reality Fair at the Capitol because our legislature is trying to meet so many real educational demands while working with its own rather serious budget and revenue constraints.”

“The Reality Fair is a great opportunity for legislators to see how much appetite and passion there is for financial education, as well as what credit unions are already doing to provide it,” Heider said.

Financial Reality Fair
Feb. 7, 2013
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
GA Auditorium, State Capitol grounds


The Northwest Credit Union Association is the not-for-profit trade association serving 164 of Oregon and Washington’s credit unions and their 4.4 million members. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to its members. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit http://www.asmarterchoice.org.

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