Waterford Union High School and Union Grove High School Experience Mylife
Community State Bank’s (CSB) award winning financial literacy program known as MyLIFE, recently celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary by wrapping up the school year at Waterford Union High School and Union Grove High School. Over 400 students and approximately 100 community volunteers gathered in the schools’ gymnasiums to experience the program.
MyLIFE (My Local Interactive Financial Education) was developed by Community State Bank to change the way students look at money by placing them in real-life situations, such as buying a home, paying for utilities, saving for retirement, and more.
During the school year, students have the opportunity to choose a career path that determines their starting salary for the event. They also have the opportunity to choose their marital status, number of dependents, pets, and a preferred retirement age. Finally, the students are assigned a complete “life” – which includes their credit score, level of education, and student debt – all potential real-life situations.
Once the student’s “life” is assigned, they are directed to the gym, where high school staff and volunteers help guide students through essential life decisions. Each of the students are required to manage a budget as they travel station to station. Those stations are staffed by local business leaders who are experienced in specific industries such as real estate, car sales, banking, retail sales, insurance, health care, and investments.
“MyLIFE is an opportunity for these students to really understand what life is going to look like in near future,” said CSB Senior Vice President, Neil Buchanan. “We’ve thought of everything from health emergencies, to speeding tickets, to enlisting in the armed forces. It’s real for them. I believe we’ve created something that is really eye opening. We’re proud to have this program for 10 years and we look forward to doing it for many years to come.”
Business leaders, volunteers and school staff were instructed to explain all available purchase and payment options to the students, in order to test the students’ budgeting skills. Students were then required to manage a complete monthly budget including: housing, insurance (health, life, auto, homeowner’s), groceries, transportation, gas and repairs for their cars, even health emergencies and other unexpected expenses.
A “help desk” staffed by volunteers was available to students who ran into budgeting trouble. Students then had the opportunity to talk through their spending habits with financial experts and make new decisions that better fit their monthly income.
“We are grateful for the invaluable support and partnership provided by Community State Bank through the MyLIFE program,” said Lucas Francois, Waterford Union High School Superintendent. “This initiative has been instrumental in equipping our local high school students with essential life skills and empowering them for a successful future. The collaboration with Community State Bank has offered our students a unique opportunity to learn financial literacy and navigate real-world challenges. A program like MyLIFE is crucial for local high schools as it prepares our students to make informed decisions and thrive in their personal and professional lives.”
Since the program was launched in 2013, MyLIFE has reached 3 counties (Kenosha, Racine and Walworth), 6 schools and over 7500 local students. It has also won the Wisconsin Governor’s Financial Literacy Award twice and has become so popular that a middle school version has already been developed known as “MyLIFE Essentials”.