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AHFC Associates Help Students Budget for Real Life

2020-03-02

AHFC Volunteers

On January 31, 2020, American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) associates volunteered to help teach high school students how to budget for real life expenses. The simulation, called Junior Achievement Finance Park, is a hands-on approach that teaches teenagers about financial responsibility. During the simulation, students are given a persona, complete with a job, debt, savings, family and income, and asked to stick to a budget while paying for life’s necessities. AHFC associates shared their real world finance knowledge to help guide the students as they decided what to buy and how much to spend.

The Finance Park simulation was attended by students from Phineas Banning Senior High School in Wilmington, California. Eight volunteers from AHFC’s corporate office in Torrance participated.

The volunteers draw from their own personal experiences with money to answer students’ questions. “We gave them real world examples from our own experience,” said Lori Kalscheuer, AHFC Training Specialist. “We told them, you have to think about things like car insurance, mortgage, utilities and hidden costs – like if you live in an apartment, the cost of doing laundry. You can decide if you need some of the extras, like cable, or if you want to put that money elsewhere.”

Finance Park is comprised of different store fronts, sponsored by real businesses, which are each selling something the students may or may not need to purchase – everything from groceries and clothing to cars and housing. In all, there are 22 different categories where students can allocate their money.

 “They all had to apply for a car loan and a home loan, and later they found out if they were approved and for how much. They learned just because you’re approved for $200,000, it doesn’t mean there was a home for them in that price range,” said Sara Tannahill, AHFC marketing and social media specialist. “The cost of housing was a big surprise for most students,” she added.

Finance Park is the culmination of 13 required teacher-taught, in-class lessons on financial responsibility that students must complete prior to the simulation. The simulation allows students to put what they have learned into practice under the guidance of volunteers.

AHFC’s relationship with Junior Achievement USA began in 2015 when AHFC entered into a sponsorship with JA to redevelop the JA Personal Finance® program, a blended learning approach that utilizes volunteer-led classroom instruction with digital technology to teach teens financial responsibility. Volunteers from AHFC have assisted in teaching the program in Los Angeles-area high schools each year since 2015.

January 31 was the first time AHFC associates have participated in JA Finance Park, but it will not be the last. The next volunteer opportunity is already planned for May 18.

“Everyone who volunteers always says they wish they had this type of financial education when they were in school,” said Kathy Fraser, AHFC marketing specialist and volunteer coordinator.

“It’s a fantastic program, said Kalscheuer. “It feels good to help educate students in this way. They’ll have this knowledge in their back pocket rather than having to learn it all the hard way. I encourage other associates to volunteer. It’s a great experience.”

To learn more about Junior Achievement of Southern California, visit www.jasocal.org.

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