CU4Reality Fairs

A Reality Fair (or “Financial Reality Fair”) is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students.  The Reality Fair concept is a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.  It’s a hands-on experience in which students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary which paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food.  Additional expenses such as entertainment and travel are factored in as well.

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Throughout the fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own.  After the students have visited the various booths covering components of independent living, students balance their budget, and then sit down with a financial counselor for review.

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Key Financial Education Statistics

Spending money has never been easier than it is today – especially for America’s youth, who spend more than $200 million annually. As the youth in our nation grow into adult consumers, their purchasing power will grow as well. The statistics* below indicate a vital need for financial education for young Americans:

  • Nearly 30% of all high school seniors now use at least one credit card.

  • Nearly 50% of high school seniors use an ATM card.

  • More than 75% of high school seniors have a savings or checking account.

  • Only 20% of high school seniors report graduating with any formal instruction in personal finance.

  • Teens surveyed by Teenage Research Unlimited reported spending 98% of their money, rather than saving it.

  • 40% of American families say they live beyond their means.

  • In the year 2000, U.S. Bankruptcy filings for consumers 18-25 years old reached 150,000; five times the number filed in 1995 for that same age group.More people in the 18-25 age group filed for bankruptcy than graduated college.

  • Only 26% of thirteen to twenty-one year-olds report that their parents actively taught them how to manage money.

  • It is estimated that 30% of college graduates enter the work force with $10,000 to $25,000 in credit card debt and student loans.

  • 45% of college students have credit card debt, the average credit card debt being $3,066.

It is apparent that far too few students learn life skills that will ultimately lead to their personal financial success.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about how you can participate in a Reality Fair, contact Paula Upchurch at 800-442-5762, ext. 6822 or email