Back-to-school is always an exciting time. It’s a time of new opportunities and new lessons to be learned. Sometimes, however these lessons are a dose of reality for students, and that’s where we come in!

At Cooperative Teachers Credit Union, we want to help students prepare for life in the real world: out from under their parents’ roofs. We help prepare these students with something we like to call a Reality Fair.

Prior to attending the Reality Fair, teachers are encouraged to talk to students about the basics of managing personal finances and how and why to save money. Then, each student is asked to choose a career and are given a real-life salary for the career they choose.


On Reality Fair day, we come out and set up different stations in a classroom or a gym, depending on the number of students.  Each station represents different areas where students need to plan on budgeting such as housing, transportation, food and other monthly costs. This is when you see those “a-ha” moments! Students begin to realize how their paycheck may not stretch as far as they want because they are spending their money on wants instead of needs.


The fun doesn’t stop there though! Their journey ends with the “Wheel of Reality” where they are faced with unexpected expenses such as a speeding ticket or flat tire, or can be rewarded with an unexpected check for their birthday or a bonus from work.

Financial advisors, who can be teachers or volunteers from CTCU, then sit down with the students and go over their budget spreadsheet so they can begin thinking about and preparing for future financial challenges they may face.

Reality Fairs are not just for high school or college students though. We can tailor this information for kids of all ages! The earlier financial literacy is taught to children, the more prepared they will be in the future.




Meghan Reily -
Meghan Reily, Marketing and Business Development Analyst for Cooperative Teachers Credit Union, gets ready for 18-19 Reality Fairs!

To schedule a Reality Fair at your school or for more information about financial literacy, contact Meghan Reily at








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