Hanscom FCU teaches high school students about financial responsibility

HANSCOM AFB, MA (April 12, 2019) — Hanscom Federal Credit Union recently hosted over 60 Air Force JROTC cadets from two area high schools at the credit union’s annual CU 4 RealityTM fair. The event gave student-cadets from Lowell and Bedford (MA) high schools the opportunity to apply lessons they learned in their personal finance classes in a test run of financial responsibility.

CU 4 Reality is a national award-winning program started by America’s Credit Union Museum that challenges teens to manage hypothetical monthly budgets. Hanscom FCU teaches an 8-week financial management class to students at Lowell and Bedford High Schools, which is capped off with the CU 4 Reality fair. The cadets attending the event chose jobs and were provided with virtual money representing entry-level salaries commensurate with their career choices. Each was assigned a list of fixed, variable, and optional expenses. Some cadets also were required to make student loan payments or carry special insurance, depending on the careers they chose.

The goal of CU 4 Reality is to get the cadets’ spending to line up with their incomes. Students often had to make adjustments and hard choices as they made their way around such booths as “entertainment,” “housing,” “pets,” “student loans,” and “savings.” Some cadets had to cancel vacations, return high-end electronic equipment and clothes they’d purchased, take second jobs, and save more virtual money than they had originally intended to save.

Cadets were also randomly selected to spin the Wheel of Reality, where an unexpected event added to or subtracted from their budget. Just like life, these unplanned-for events made a student scramble to cover an emergency expense or allowed them to enjoy (or save) a windfall.

“CU 4 Reality is an eye-opening opportunity for students to learn how many financial decisions impact their daily lives,” said Paul Marotta, Hanscom FCU’s Chairman of the Board. “The experience makes them consider almost every aspect of their lives…from their career choices to how they balance wants versus needs.”

“We pull together as a community to make this important event happen every year,” Marotta said. “The credit union sponsors the event, but we couldn’t do it without the support of many volunteers. We’re grateful so many of our employees and volunteers from the Air Force base community come back every year to help out. They’re showing these young people how critical it is to watch their spending and create a savings plan.”

Cadets and their instructors from Lowell High School’s Air Force JROTC program stand with Hanscom FCU Chairman of the Board Paul Marotta (first row, fifth from right) after the CU 4 Reality fair. To Marotta’s right are Hanscom FCU’s Eileen Finegan, Member Education Specialist; Helder Raposo, Project Coordinator; and David Sprague, President and CEO of Hanscom FCU.

About Hanscom Federal Credit Union

Hanscom Federal Credit Union is a purpose-driven organization based in Littleton, MA, empowering its members to achieve financial wellness. Guided by its five core values of Members First, Integrity, Teamwork, Innovation and Empathy, Hanscom FCU serves more than 95,000 members across the country and overseas through 21 branches, more than 100,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 5,000 service centers, and a web-based branch. The credit union holds $1.9 billion in assets. Follow Hanscom FCU on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter, and check out our MoneyWisdom blog today.


Alexander Caswell
Regan Communications Group




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