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ECI seniors learn about real-life finances

Forty-eight seniors at Emanuel County Institute participated in a financial simulation called “It’s Your Reality” on April 22. The event afforded students the opportunity to learn about and consider the financial realities they will face after completing high school and starting a career.

Twelve booths manned by ECI faculty, UGA Extension 4-H educators, and representatives from Durden Banking Company showcased a variety of financial conditions and decisions that will confront young adults as they enter the the next phases of life.

The participating students submitted their career plans to ECI counselor Elizabeth Kraus earlier in the year. These plans were used to assign each student a monthly salary. Through the simulation, students had to visit different “stores” to provide for the needs of their family, including housing, transportation, food, medical/dental, and more. The students also had to work to balance their budgets within their chosen career’s monthly salary.

The store process helped young people determine whether their career aspirations will provide the income for their desired lifestyle as an adult. This simulation was the culmination of a semester-long financial literacy program for the seniors that focused on needs versus wants, budgeting, and credit.

This program was based on the It’s Your Reality Program from University of Kentucky Extension and is the result of a collaboration between ECI, UGA Extension Emanuel County, and Durden Bank.

For more information about providing “It’s Your Reality” to your school or group, contact Jakyn Tyson, Emanuel County Extension coordinator and 4-H Agent, at 478-237-1226 or email

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