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Annual event adds up to financial literacy

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | October 16, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Kids are expensive, food is expensive and being an adult is tough.

Those were among the takeaways local high school seniors say they got out of the annual finance fair held Wednesday.

More than 260 Lake Pend Oreille School District seniors attended the event, which aims to teach students financial literacy skills as well as give them an understanding of what budgeting in the future might look like. 

"Definitely just what goes into being an adult and all the expenses that you'll need to account for," Sandpoint High School senior Masey Korsten said. "Instead of just like food and a car, you actually need to go through like housing and bills and all that kind of stuff."

Friend and fellow SHS senior Shirley Kin agreed, saying she learned about how many expenses make up the average person's life.

"Definitely how to manage finances and definitely how to balance a checkbook better because I learned [how before] but not like this."

The pair, which had just come out of the segment deadline with childbirth, where they learned they had children and needed to figure out how to budget for the many things they need.

"Children are really expensive," Kin said.

For fellow SHS senior Anna Rennick, going through the finance fair served opened her eyes about the different things she needs to budget for — and how much they all cost.

"It's really like a reality check about how much money you lose based off of food," Rennick said. "You need food to survive and you're dropping money for it like crazy."

Clark Fork High School seniors Owen Bailey and Hank Barnett said the experience gave them some valuable tips on how to manage money.

"So you can take care of yourself for the future," Bailey added.

While a simulation, the “My Life, My Money” event gives the high school seniors a checkbook register and assigned them a card filled with information on their career, family, income, spouse’s income, debt and other information.

The students then had the opportunity to go around and figure out other monthly expenses, such as car payment, childcare and clothing. A second section of the event was a trivia-style game show in which students learned about managing credit and saving money.

"Finance Fair is just an amazing event because of the way the community pulls together to make this happen for our students," SHS postsecondary counselor Jeralyn Mire said. "We are really lucky. There are so many community members and businesses involved." 

The fair has been a staple at the Lake Pend Oreille School District for the past 10 years. A partnership between the school district, local businesses, credit unions and organizations, the event gives local teens a first-hand look at what it takes to make it in the world.

Volunteers and sponsors from over 20 area businesses took part with STCU providing the program curriculum and both Horizon Credit Union and Selkirk Association of Realtors sponsored a scholarship contest.

"Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive," Mire said. "One student remarked, 'I had no idea it was so expensive to raise children. I’m going to thank my parents tonight.'"

The day is one that volunteers and sponsors look forward to, said Stacey Darley of Spokane Teachers Credit Union.

The day gives business leaders and volunteers a chance not only interact with students but to break down a topic that is tough for many to understand in a way that is interactive and fun, Darley said.

"All the community comes together and we work together to make a really fun day for everyone to talk about financial education, something that we don't always talk about," she added. "We don't like to talk about death. We don't like to talk about how hard it is to make enough money to save money to pay your bills. And today's the day we talk about that."

Darley said she loves how the community bands together to put on the event, giving hundreds of high school seniors a taste of financial literacy.

"Yeah, I think the biggest things that we hear at the end of the day are 'Wow, I didn't realize how expensive everything is,' 'I didn't know it was gonna be so hard.' 'I feel bad. My parents have to pay for this or that. No wonder my parents are stressed,'" Darley said. "Those are a lot of the comments that we hear at the end of the day."

Sponsors of the "My Life, My Money" event include STCU, Horizon Credit Union, North Summit Church, Sandpoint High School, Taylor and Sons Chevrolet, North 40 Outfitters, Yoke's, Second Avenue Pizza, Community Assistance League, Starbucks, Selkirk Association of Realtors, Lake Pend Oreille School District, Larson’s, Panhandle Alliance for Education, Super 1 Foods, and Sandpoint Furniture and Carpet One.

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(Photo courtesy SHS MONTICOLA)

A Lake Pend Oreille School District senior is presented with baby clothes after learning she was assigned children at this week's "My Life, My Money" finance fair.

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(Photo courtesy SHS MONTICOLA)

Lake Pend Oreille School District seniors take part in a trivia quiz during the "My Life, My Money" finance fair, which aims to teach the teens financial literacy.

photo

(Photo courtesy SHS MONTICOLA)

Lake Pend Oreille School District seniors take part in a the "My Life, My Money" finance fair, which aims to teach the teens financial literacy. This year, more than 260 students took part in the event.

photo

(Photo courtesy SHS MONTICOLA)

Lake Pend Oreille School District seniors take part in a trivia quiz during the "My Life, My Money" finance fair, which aims to teach the teens financial literacy.

photo

(Photo courtesy SHS MONTICOLA)

Lake Pend Oreille School District seniors take part in the "My Life, My Money" finance fair, which aims to teach the teens financial literacy.

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