JA Finance Park gave students a taste of the real world

By Allyson Espinal, Public Relations Officer at Rangeview High School

On November 12, 2012, all DECA students, in addition to Mrs. Franklin’s Accounting class, and Mr. Campo’s class had the opportunity to attend the JA Finance Park at the American Furniture Warehouse in Thornton, Colorado. Every student had been preparing to attend the park since September, and doing the work appropriate to make sure they were ready to take on their role and successfully work out their finances.

When students arrived at the park they each received a folder with their profile for the day. For example, someone could be 33 years old, married with 3 children and could be an office assistant… or someone else had the scenario as a 29 year old with no children and not married… Every student was also given the amount of money they earned each year and had to come up with a very detailed budget of with their Net Monthly Income.

In addition to having to come up with their budget, students had to go and pay their bills at the actual mini businesses around the park. Some of the businesses that sponsor the JA Finance Park are Wells Fargo, John Elway, Goodwill, Great West Insurance Company, CenturyLink, Xcel Energy and many more! All students also had the opportunity to not only be exposed to the sad reality of having to pay bills, students were also exposed to the stock market and showed every one of us about the importance and impact of investment. When given our profiles at the beginning we were all given a statement on the number of shares we had on certain stocks and throughout the day their amount was updated. At the end of the day we had all paid off our bills, including phone, internet, cable, clothing, groceries, entertainment, home improvement, and for our insurance companies for both our purchased cars and homes…

Clearly it is very difficult to have to keep up with bills every month, and even unexpected expenses but this was just a hint to what we need to expect the future to be. Everyone has to pay bills and many times people can even have money put away for savings, and other times some people have a negative balance… The JA Finance Park gave students a taste of the real world, and we would just like to thank JA Finance Park for letting us attend and participate, as well as all of our sponsors and all the volunteers that helped make the day a success. Thank you all!

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