VWHS Students Get A Reality Check on Finances

Van Wert seniors and Lincolnview juniors got a big dose of financial reality on Thursday as part of the “Our Money, Our World’ program simulation held in the VWHS gymnasium.

Heather Gottke, Ohio State University Extension educator and “Our Money, Our World” coordinator, said the program is a four-point education series taught in government class that deals with real-world financial information, including how a person’s career choice impacts how money they have to spend on life needs such as housing, insurance, child care, food, clothing, and other expenses.

 Students participate in the Our Money, Our World simulation.

Two VWHS seniors show government teacher Jeff Kallas what they have learned at the Our Money, Our World financial simulation on Thursday. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Gottke added that Thursday’s simulation is the culmination of all the students have learned during the past few weeks of classroom instruction.

“Today is their actual chance to take everything they have learned and apply it,” she noted.

Unfortunately, what many of the students learn is that even good paying jobs don’t leave much money left at the end of the day if they don’t make smart financial decisions along the way.

VWHS senior Cassidy Meyers said she chose computer programmer as her occupation, thinking she would be well-set financially, but found that child care and other expenses still left her with little money left.

“It was a little bit of a reality check, especially with the future coming very, very fast,” Meyers said. “It was definitely eye-opening to see all the different (expenses) that accumulate over a month.”

Bradley Wilder noticed quickly that buying a car wasn’t as expensive as child care, so decided that kids were out, at least until later. The cost of housing was also a revelation to Wilder, who chose fitness trainer as his occupation. Wilder said, joking, that he might have to live in his car with housing costs so high.

To make the students’ experience even more realistic, Chet and Warren Straley of Straley Realty & Auctioneers, used actual houses that were either on the market, and had recently been up for sale locally in compiling their display on housing costs.

Senior Kory Oechsle pretty much summed up students’ reaction to the real-world financial simulation.

“It’s kind of an eye-opener,” he noted.

That’s the idea, Gottke noted: to provide students with financial information they can use to make good decisions when they get out of high school.

 Local realtors speak with students during the Our Money, Our World simulation.

Van Wert realtors (seated, from the left) Warren and Chet Straley talk to students about local housing costs.