Local highschoolers get set for financial reality check

“Mad City Money” simulation aims at providing Cazenovia and Chittenango High School seniors with insights and motivation for shaping a solid financial future

SYRACUSE, NY (January 4, 2018) — When you were in high school, did you have a firm grasp on the upcoming financial realities of buying a home, raising a family, planning for a sound financial future and dealing with unexpected expenses? For most teenagers, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! 

To help reverse this trend, Chittenango and Cazenovia school officials and local credit union representatives from Empower Federal Credit Union will host Mad City MoneyÔ, a fun and informative financial simulation that allows young people to take on the role of an adult in futuristic Mad City, where they will get real world “financial reality check” complete with: occupation, salary, spouse and/or children, student loan debt, credit card debt, and auto & medical insurance payments. Endorsed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the Mad City Money event is set for Friday, January 19th from 9:30-1:00PM at Cazenovia High School Auxiliary Gymnasium.

Each of the 75 high school seniors will build a monthly budget based on income, identify and experience the consequences of good or poor financial decisions, and develop improved spending habits.  Along the way, they’ll visit nine Mad City merchants to gain hands-on experience in purchasing housing, transportation, food, day care, and other needs. Participants will use debit cards for their purchases and must balance both their debit card registers and their budgets.

Mad City also has a credit union office where participants can stop in for guidance with their financial budgeting.  “Most young people are surprised to find out they may not be able to afford a big house and a new car when they get their first job,” says Cheryl Johnson Welles, Empower Federal Credit Union’s Financial Education Officer, who will be offering students financial assistance and advice designed to get them thinking about their own future.
To keep things interesting, Cazenovia High School’s Business Teacher, Christina New, will also act as The Fickle Finger of Fate by randomly visiting each participant during the simulation to distribute unexpected windfalls and unplanned expenses. “It’s all about helping young people gain the knowledge and confidence they will need to take responsibility for themselves and their family in the future,” Welles points out.  “The first step is understanding that budgeting is necessary to good money management and the key to their future financial stability.”

About Empower Federal Credit Union

Empower Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that provides savings, loan, and transaction services to members in Central New York, and in eight counties in New York State. Main offices are in Central New York. As a credit union, Empower is a financial cooperative and is not-for-profit. For information about this release or credit union membership, contact Mary Wilson: 800.462,5000. Locations and other information can be found at



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