DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — High school students in Dearborn participated in a "Financial Reality Check" fair at Michael Berry Career Center Thursday.
The event aimed to show students how real-life choices will affect their budget after graduation.
"They gave us scenarios that taught us what we’re going to see in the future of our lives and how we have to manage it," said Dearborn High senior, Ali Alnajjar.
Students chose hypothetical career paths, and then factored in other real-life scenarios like housing and owning a car.
Catholic Vantage Financial Federal Credit Union, MemberFocus, Parkside, and Michigan Legacy Credit Union all collaborated to host the event. This is the first time it's been held at Michael Berry Career Center.
Vice President of Operations for Catholic Vantage, Emma Teller, said the goal of the program is to prepare students for financial realities before they happen.
“I think they thought once they had their career that they were set. That everything else would come a lot easier," Teller told 7 Action News.
Students were given hypothetical monthly incomes— and there was a common reaction.
“I thought it would be more money," senior Riley Katvirtis said. She plans to study accounting next year.
On top of balancing transportation and housing costs, students were also tasked with budgeting for a cell phone and student loan debt.
According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of adults under age 30 have student loan debt, about $25,000 on average for a Bachelor's degree.
Teller told 7 Action News loan debt and low credit scores are the biggest stress factors for Catholic Vantage's young adult clients.
"Most the students went away with a broader understanding of the different choices they’re going to have to make it life. And they can’t have everything," business teacher Allan Farhoud said.