WEST WARWICK — An event held last week in the media center at West Warwick High School invited a group of around 30 students to put their knowledge of personal finance to the test.
Sponsored by BankNewport, the Financial Education Fair was an opportunity for the high school’s Academy of Finance students to apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios, BankNewport CEO Jack Murphy said.
“Should you get the iPhone 5, or should you get the iPhone 3?” Murphy said, addressing the students as the fair got underway. “Should you get the Hyundai, the Kia, or the Mercedes? This is important stuff that you need to think about, because your personal finances are incredibly important, and managing your personal finances will lead to success — I promise you that.”
Tables set up around the media center were manned by representatives from area businesses, among them the College Planning Center of Rhode Island; Community College of Rhode Island; Empire Beauty School; Premier Homes Realty; Tasca Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat, and OceanPoint Insurance Agency.
Having each chosen a career ahead of time, the students were directed to visit each table, where they would engage as consumers with the various businesses and make spending decisions based on their net income.
At a table run by Cruise Planners, students had to decide whether they could afford to spring for a vacation; a Stop & Shop table had students grappling with paying for food and other grocery items.
And at another table, students mulled over whether or not to adopt a dog or a cat.
Between adoption fees, vet bills and the costs of food and other supplies, pets can be costly. But for seniors Yasumin Vongvilay and Ava Tavares, there was really no question about whether or not it would be wise to adopt a furry friend.
“We got puppies,” Tavares said. “Having a pet is fun, and it’s not too much money. It’s worth it.”
As the grade 11 and 12 students made their way around the room, working out whether they had room in their budgets for a pedicure, or if they could justify paying for the more expensive gym membership, they were also given a taste of how unpredictable life can be.
At the Wheel of Consequence, students had to take a spin to determine what unexpected situation they would face. Would they be charged $600 to make auto repairs, or be down $150 after misplacing a wallet? Might they receive a $750 tax refund, or be awarded a $500 employee bonus?
Aidan Wallad lucked out — …….