Bite of Reality volunteers Bite of Reality volunteers from Portland-area credit unions USAgencies CU, Providence FCU, Point West CU, Consolidated Community CU, OnPoint Community CU and Cutting Edge CU (and me, second from left), pose for a group photo.

Most of us can agree that school doesn’t necessarily prepare us for the real world. Have you seen that meme with a picture of a recorder musical instrument, that says something to the effect of, “School never taught us how to do our taxes, but at least it taught us this … my life is in shambles but at least I know how to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ on the recorder!” Yeah, exactly.

The lack of financial literacy education in schools is no joke, though: According to the National Financial Educators Council, “Many schools do little or nothing to prepare students to deal with their finances, setting them up for academic success and financial failure.” Credit unions, as you may know, are doing their part to help change this by hosting “financial reality fairs” at high schools across the country, which simulate financial decision-making in adulthood for students, assigning them an occupation, debt level and family situation, and allowing them to make and learn from their spending choices.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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