While personal finances may not be the most exciting topic in the world, it is important to learn. To teach students about this topic, Castleton puts on a financial simulator called ‘The Game of Life’ every spring and this year it was on March 28.
Senior Christin Martin helped coordinate ‘The Game of Life’ the past two years.
“I think it’s really helpful to put people in the right mindset to think about finances” Martin said.
To start, students chose a career that best fit what they want to do after they graduate. Attached to the career is a salary and a credit score, both of which are crucial to the game.
Participants in the event had to budget for various aspects such as rent, furniture, clothing, pets, transportation, random emergencies, and several other categories. They also got the opportunity to spin the wheel of reality, which has different events that affect the participant either negatively or positively.
One option students have during the game is to take loans out from a bank or credit union when they are purchasing something they cannot pay in full, such as a car. Their credit score is considered and then they are given a monthly rate they must pay back.
Junior Skylar McNally went through The Game of Life with a coaching career. “I failed,” said McNally. “From the profession I chose, and the options I decided to go with, I ended up being $518 over budget.”
McNally said he chose to get a part-time job as a barista working 20 hours a week to earn an extra $718. Even with this job, McNally went over budget after choosing to adopt a dog and buy a new car.
“Typically, people don’t have too hard of a time figuring out their budget,” Martin said.
There are a few students who do struggle with it however. Before students can finish the game, they must meet with a financial advisor to go over what they did well, and what can be improved.
‘The Game of Life’ is a way to prepare students for life after college. Martin said “because students get assigned an income and a credit score, that really helps bring it home to it is going to be real and it is going to be something important in your life to pay attention to.”