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California CU Branch Manager Lyudmila Pazyuk talks to 14-year-old Hoover High School student Shant Wahram about his transportation options during the Bite of Reality program held recently at the school.

TEENS GET MONEY MANAGEMENT LESSONS
updated 12/10/13 03:29 PM
California CU Hosts Bite of Reality Program
A group of 180 freshmen students from Hoover High School in Glendale got a “bite of reality” on Dec. 4 when they attended an interactive financial education simulation designed to teach them how to manage money. The program was hosted by California CU. It was offered by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation.

The event—which aims to teach young people the basics of finance by having them take a “real world” test drive complete with a job, money and the freedom to make their own financial decisions—was run by employees from the credit union, who volunteered their time.

The students—who attend teacher Chuck Saint’s Guidance classes at the high school—were given a fictional occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. They then visited various stations to "purchase" items such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, and daycare. They battled their way past pushy salesmen, unexpected expenses and windfalls, and expensive tastes to keep themselves in the black, and learn how to budget and make wise financial choices. Those staffing the "credit union" station provided much-needed assistance when some overspent.

Some, like 14-year-old Alex Sarkisian, lamented their meager salaries and the high cost of living. He was a television broadcast technician making about $2,000 a month.

“I’m getting a better job and I’m not going to have any debt,” Alex said, when asked what the simulation program had taught him.

Sophia Ramos, 15, was given the occupation of cook while her “husband” was a brick layer. Together they took home $3,373 a month. Still, the cost of having a child was eye-opening for her. “I knew they were expensive, but not that expensive,” she said.

Edgar Abaamyn, 14, said the program gives him a head start on the future. “I never thought you needed to buy all of these things as a grownup,” he said, waving his arm toward the various stations in the room.

That taste of reality is exactly what the event coordinators hope young people take away from the program.

This is so relevant and so powerful,” said Saint, who is head of the Health and Guidance Department at Hoover High School. The Guidance class, which he helped create five years ago, helps transition students from middle school to high school. It touches upon study skills, life skills, and social responsibility.

“I like that it gets kids to figure things out on their own, which relates perfectly to the common core standards in California,” Saint added.

California CU Chief Marketing Officer Ron Stratman thought the program went very well.

Stratman added that the program will be offered again next year and it will become a part of the curriculum at the school.

"Giving teens this hands-on opportunity to experience making financial decisions in a low-risk setting gives them a better understanding of the challenges of living on a budget before they have to make those decisions in the ‘real world’," said Tena Lozano, executive director of the RMJ Foundation.

 
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MCWATTERS DISSENTS ON BUDGET VOTE updated 11/22/14 06:37 AM
Also, Revised RBC Rule Coming
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Member J. “Mark” McWatters was the only one to vote “no” on the board’s 2015 proposed budget, which will increase 4.2 percent over last year. The vote was 2 to 1.

ANNUAL FED WEBINAR ON REGS, GUIDANCE updated 11/21/14 10:32 AM
Also, FinCEN Issues Advisories
Senior staff at the Federal Reserve will host an annual webinar to provide a recap of recent regulatory changes and highlight various inter-agency guidance. The webinar will also discuss current hot topics in the financial services industry and give a glimpse of future regulatory changes.

NEW EMPLOYMENT LAWS FOR 2015 updated 11/21/14 04:33 PM
Also, TIPs Bulletin Posted
The California Chamber of Commerce has released a list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2015 or earlier that will have an impact on businesses in California.

DIANA DYKSTRA RECEIVES 'EAGLE AWARD' updated 11/20/14 10:41 AM
Outstanding Record of Achievement
Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, was presented with the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ highest honor—the Eagle Award—this week during AACUL’s winter meeting in Hawaii.