The staff of The Ohio State University Miami County Extension Office offers a reality-based financial literacy program for young people.

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Barton discussed the literacy program this summer, saying money from his county budget will help pay for the program. Real Money, Real World is responding to financial education now required in schools by the state, she said.

“It’s very practical. It teaches children how to write checks, learn signatures on (bank) accounts, how to protect an account,” she said.

“They also go through a real-life simulation where they make choices about insurance, renting or buying a house, the cost of electronics,” Barton said. “They learn that they may have to cut out some luxury goods to meet their needs.”

The program includes classroom learning, hands-on budget management and decision-making spending simulation and post-session evaluation of the spending choices made during the simulation.

The objectives of the program include:

  • Increase awareness of the influence of educational attainment and corresponding career choice on personal income and financial security;
  • Increase student knowledge of money management tools used in day-to-day spending for cost of living decisions;
  • Increase participants’ awareness of how income and lifestyle choices affect the amount of money available for discretionary spending.

Marcie Longenecker, the state treasurer’s liaison for Southwest Ohio, joined Barton in a discussion about the program and what they see as its benefits.

Over time, the state office has provided content to many schools, she said. When they learned about real money, the real world, “We thought, ‘Why not use this? ‘” she said.

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One of the benefits of teaming up is that they could bring attention to the program more easily together, Longenecker said. One of the treasurer’s office contributions to the program is to provide volunteers to help run the simulations.

OSU Extension also uses the program with adolescents in juvenile court independent living programs, Barton said.

“We look at needs versus wants and the need to prioritize your needs over your wants,” she said. “Children need information to make decisions about what is best for them. It starts with their goals.

For more information on real money, the real world, contact Barton at [email protected]

Contact this contributing writer at [email protected]

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