Financial literacy program a win for kids

TROY – Miami County’s Ohio State University Extension Office staff is offering a reality-based financial literacy program for youth to local schools districts.

The Real Money, Real World program also is being promoted for schools across the state by the office of the Ohio Treasurer.

“This is a skill that kids need to have when they graduate,” said Alisha Barton, educator, family and consumer sciences, at the OSU Miami County Extension Office.

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Barton discussed the literacy program this summer saying money in its budget from the county will help pay for the program. Real Money, Real World meets financial education now required in the schools by the state, she said.

“This is very hands on. It teaches kids how to write checks, learn about signatures on (bank) accounts, how to keep an account safe,” she said.

“They also go through a simulation of real life where they are making choices about insurance, renting or buying a home, the cost of electronics,” Barton said. “They learn they may have to cut some of the luxuries to meet their necessities.”

The program includes classroom learning, hands on budget management and decision making spending simulation and a post session evaluation of spending choices made during the simulation.

The program goals include:

  • To increase awareness of how educational level and corresponding career choice influence personal income and financial security;
  • To increase the students’ knowledge of money management tools used in daily spending for cost of living decisions;
  • To increase participants’ awareness of how income and lifestyle choices affect the amount of money available for discretionary spending.

Marcie Longenecker, the state treasurer’s liaison for southwest Ohio, joined Barton in a discussion of the program and what they see as its benefits.

Over time, the state office had provided content for a lot of schools, she said. When they learned more about Real Money, Real World, “We thought, ‘Why not use this?’” she said.

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One of the advantages of teaming up, is they might get attention for the program more easily together, Longenecker said. Among the treasurer’s office contributions to the program is providing volunteers to help run the simulations.

OSU Extension also uses the program with teens in juvenile court independent living programs, Barton said.

“We look at needs versus wants and the need to prioritize your needs over your wants,” she said. “Kids need information to make decisions for what is best for them. It starts with their goals.”

For more information on Real Money, Real World, contact Barton at

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