Cowley First hosts Future Finance

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For the seventh year, Cowley First-Cowley County Economic Development provided a dose of financial reality to area high school sophomores. On Tuesday, October 1st in Winfield, and Wednesday October 2nd in Ark City, the Cowley First event serviced over 500 students from 8 area schools.

Called “Future Finance” the premises of the program is for students to look ten years into the future when they will be about 26 years old, in the workforce, and providing for themselves and possibly a family. Prior to the day of the Future Finance event, a survey is completed at school with questions regarding future career, lifestyle such as type of home and car and how they would spend their money recreationally. Their current GPA and how they would use credit cards are also considered as a life situation is formed for each student.

At the event, each students is assigned a monthly income based on career choice and GPA, a family situation such as married, single or divorced (50% of students who indicated they would be married are given a divorce status, since sadly that is about the current divorce rate), if there are children and how many, plus student loan debt payments.

Students are then given 90 minutes to make mock purchases at fourteen booths manned by business and community volunteers. Housing, insurance, medical, groceries, internet and phone, transportation, utilities, childcare and banking are a few of their stops. In addition, Financial Advising, Chance; where they might receive coupon savings or be struck with an unforeseen medical expense, and Charitable Giving; where they may make a mock donation of time or money.

“This event is a very good reality check for many of these teens”, said Cowley First Director, Kerri Falletti. “We are very grateful to all of our volunteers that give of their time to benefit our area students, without them this event truly would not be possible. We had 102 volunteers cover 223 two hour time slots!”

Mandy Maples, HR Manager at Rubbermaid, said “I have had the pleasure of volunteering at Future Finance for the last several years and truly enjoy it every time. I cannot think of a better way to teach kids a little about ‘real life finances’. In past years I have worked the ‘Entertainment’ table and this year I got to try my hand at ‘Transportation’ aka, selling cars! Some of my favorite quotes from kids this year were ‘Wait, what do you mean insurance?’ or ‘Yea, I think I may go with the $25 bus pass’ or ‘What do you mean my 1-year-old can’t ride on the back of a scooter?’ One young lady even had the hard life lesson of trading her car in for something more affordable after her bank book went in the red. I believe that Future Finance is a great way for the kids to have some fun while learning a life skill that will really stick, it is also a great way for community businesses to get involved with the youth, a win win all around. Thanks Cowley First!”