Thursday December 17th was Marshfield High School’s third annual Smart with Money Fair, which I am lucky enough to be involved in. All of my work is done in advance of the fair and I purposefully leave myself open during the actual fair so that I can observe and put out fires if needed. Everything went pretty smoothly this year, so I was able to watch the students as they completed their task of living life within a budget. Here is what I saw:
- Students perusing real estate and deciding if they wanted to rent or if they could afford to buy.
- Students sharing an apartment and expenses with a roommate, then later realizing that maybe they could afford their own place. Or they could afford to buy a condo and sublet to their roommate.
- Students visiting the Property and Casualty Insurance booth and realizing that the home they purchased was in a flood zone!
- Students learning what a 401(k) is and that they are in charge of deciding how much to contribute from their paycheck
- One student asking if he could contribute to his 401(k) and also if he could put money in a Roth IRA. This wasn’t an option at the fair, but how awesome that he understood that possibility!
- Students pulling random amounts of student loan debts from a jar and deciding how quickly they could afford to pay them down.
- A student asking how she can start saving for college now (she was a sophomore), and wondering if that would lower the amount of loans she would need to take. YES!
- Students with money from their monthly budget left over asking me if instead of spending it, if they could save it!
- Students realizing how expensive life is!
There was so much more, but those are the most memorable for me. Of utmost importance to me was for the students to grasp the importance of paying attention to what they spend (and not spending more than they make!), and the importance of saving for the future. I think we accomplished that, and I hope the students carry those lessons with them.
I have to give a huge THANK YOU to all the other local businesses that helped McNamara Financial and MHS make the fair possible. They all helped monetarily and by being present that day to help educate the students in different areas. Thank you to: Waterfront Realty, MSA Mortgage, Rogers & Gray Insurance, Luchetti’s Complete Auto Care, the MHS PTO, Bank of America, SportClips, Neilsen McDonough & Company CPAs, Mamma Mia’s, Sweetfrog Premium Frozen Yogurt, Road to Responsibility, Campus Bound College Counselors, and Eastern Bank. Thank you! I’m already fine tuning things and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Alyssa McNamara Reed, CFP®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM