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Maine Credit Unions Help PHS Students with Financial Fitness

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Maine Credit Unions Help PHS Students with Financial Fitness
Posted on 10/14/2015
This is the image for the news article titled Maine Credit Unions Help PHS Students with Financial Fitness

Nearly 200 Portland High School seniors participated in a Financial Fitness Fair this week, put on at the school by credit unions from Greater Portland.

The Oct. 14 event was the fourth Financial Fitness Money Management Experience event that credit unions have presented at the school in the past four years. The fair is one of more than 30 fairs that Maine’s credit unions will be coordinating  in the state during the 2015-2016 school year.

The award-winning Financial Fitness Money Management Experience is a half-day event during which students receive a scenario packet of their potential life at age 22, which includes their occupations, income and credit history. From there, students will have to map out their financial future from financing their housing to purchasing food and clothing. The day can be compared to an interactive “Game of Life,” and builds awareness for youth education and for credit unions’ dedication to financial literacy in their communities.

Jon Paradise, vice president of governmental and public affairs for the Maine Credit Union League, said the experience is an effort to help students understand the importance of making smart financial decisions at any age. “These students are preparing to enter the real world, be it through applying to college or joining the work force. In order to be successful, it is necessary to have strong understanding of money and how to spend and save. The interactive nature of this event gives them a hands-on way to gain these important skills,” he said.

Students said the experience was eye-opening. One student who wants to become a doctor, said, “I learned about credit scores and financing and am really shocked at how difficult it is. I’m going to plan my future out carefully, and make sure I can pay for it without going too far into debt.” A student who is considering a variety of options after graduation said, “I was eager to move out when I graduate even though I am looking at local colleges. Now, I may reconsider and save money while I go to school.”

Tucker Cole, President/CEO of Evergreen CU, one of the credit unions participating in the fair, said those types of comments “are the outcome we hope for. We want students to think about finances in a different way, and realize that the decisions they make from here on out have consequences. For students to learn about the challenges that will await them in the real world is important because the more they know now, the better off they will be as adults.” 

Representatives from Casco FCU, cPort CU, Cumberland County FCU, Evergreen CU, TruChoice FCU and the Maine Credit Union League helped to organize the event. The Maine Credit Union League is the State Trade Association for Maine’s 60 credit unions and more than 660,000 members.

Deering High School seniors also attended a Financial Literacy Fair at that school on Oct. 14. That “Life’s Dollars and $ense” fair was sponsored by KeyBank and Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG).

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jim Wiley, a volunteer from a local credit union, discusses transportation options with two students at the Transportation Booth, one of many booths the students visited at the Financial Fitness – Money Management Experience event held for Portland High School seniors on Wednesday, October 14. This is the fourth year that the local credit unions have coordinated a fair at PHS and, during that time, more than 750 students have participated.