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Reality Fair Brings Fun and Budgeting Life Skills Together as a Hands-on Experience
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 6:50 AM

Diamond Lakes FCU Reality Fair
Susan Joplin, Diamond Lakes FCU central branch head teller, takes a moment to add up her monthly expenses at the CU-4 Reality Financial Education Fair. Participants were assigned a career and lifestyle to simulate living within a budget. By visiting booths, they were able to set up their household with housing, transportation, food, clothing, pets, etc.

The employees of Diamond Lakes FCU experienced hands-on budgeting reality at the credit union’s recent CU-4 Reality Financial Education Fair. The Malvern, Ark.-based credit union is a REAL Solutions credit union, and as Cornerstone Credit Union League (Cornerstone) Senior Vice President Mike Delker explains, the financial education fairs are being made available to Cornerstone REAL Solutions credit unions at no charge because of support received from Cornerstone, Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, the Friends of Consumer Freedom and the National Credit Union Foundation.

CU-4 Reality Financial Education Fair participants are assigned a career, lifestyle and budget. They experience the reality of living within a budget by visiting booths designed to set up their household:  housing, transportation, utilities, clothing, food, credit union savings, loans, gym memberships, pets and electronics. While some booths feature necessities, other booths offered lifestyle choices that can either make or break a family budget. Budget counseling is available throughout the experience. This interactive financial education fair brings fun and budgeting together in a dynamic hands-on experience.   

“Now that our staff has fully experienced the CU-4 Reality Financial Education Fair, we want to put them on for schools, churches, businesses and organizations interested in a fun, interactive budgeting experience,” says Lorraine Howard, Diamond Lakes FCU vice president of marketing.

The CU-4 Reality Financial Education Fair, Howard notes, teaches life skills that will lead to personal financial success.

“I think it’s wonderful that Diamond Lakes FCU wanted their employees to experience the financial education fair before introducing in the community,” says REAL Solutions Director Paula Upchurch. “I was impressed that while the staff had fun with it, they took it seriously and learned a great deal from the experience.”

The CU-4Reality Financial Education Fair was developed the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum in conjunction with the New Hampshire Credit Union League. REAL Solutions stands for Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing solutions.  To learn more about REAL Solutions, please visit