There’s a lot of chatter in some of the circles I travel in (on the internet because on my current budget, I’m not doing any travel unrelated to cheerleading) that schools are doing a terrible job teaching personal finance. And that might be true for some but I can honestly say that it’s not been the case for my daughter. In fact, it’s been the exact opposite. Since 3rd grade, she’s had an economics unit, she can participate in savings at school through one of the banks, and this year, they went to a JA BizTown, run through the Junior Achievement of Delaware (it’s in a bunch of states).
I had no idea it existed so when she came home telling me about it, I was pretty interested. And curious. And she asked me to chaperone and I did (I was assigned to the newspaper. Probably the most apropos volunteer placement in the history of my volunteering). I should probably write about my experience and perspective on it (as well as my experience with an amazing event I did through CFSI while I was in Dallas. I do have a post drafted and in need of finishing, though). But instead of you hearing me talk about it, my daughter was eager to share her thoughts and opinions. She is my child. So I asked her a bunch of questions, interview-style, and this is what she had to say:
(P.S. I added a few liner notes throughout her responses. I couldn’t stay completely quiet.)
Me: Can you explain what BizTown is?
Child: BizTown is a place where there are all different businesses and instead of them being run by adults, the entire town is run by kids with some adults showing the kids what to do.
Me: What kind of businesses are in BizTown?
Child: Basic living businesses like a bank, a radio station, a wellness center, a drugstore, a print shop, and insurance agency. There were also government services like police, paramedics, a mayor, utilities, and a science center. There was not a grocery store, though, which I wish there would have been.
Me: So what did you do while you were there?
Child: I worked for the radio station as a reporter. I walked around and interviewed citizens about things like what they like, what they dislike, the prices of their products and services, how hard they thought working is, and what they thought of BizTown. I was also trying to report on the news but there wasn’t too much and I didn’t get it all in time.
Me: Was working as a reporter hard?
Child: In some ways. It was hard to find news and also DJ at the same time (when our DJ was on break, I had to fill in for him) but it wasn’t hard since I didn’t have to do too much beyond walk around and interview people.
Me: Do you think it would have been harder to be a newspaper reporter?
Child: Probably not because there wasn’t a lot of news like accidents or crime or elections. (Jana says: There was actually a “crime”. She missed it)
Me: Was it hard to manage your job and all the personal tasks you had to do like eat lunch and go to the bank during your free time?
Child: Not really. I had enough time to do everything because I did some stuff beforehand like fill out my deposit tickets and you packed my lunch.
Me: Do you think if you had a little bit more of a demanding job or if there were more news to report on, it would have been harder to balance your job and personal tasks?
Child: Probably not because everyone had the same amount of time. (Jana says: I wholeheartedly disagree with her belief here but I am also an adult with actual life experience)
Me: Tell me about managing your money. What kinds of things did you have to do?
Child: You had to keep track of how much you had in funds. You had to make sure you put enough money in the bank so you could buy the things you want. You had to open a savings account and remember to put that check in.
Me: Was it hard?
Child: It wasn’t too hard. (Jana says: I think if you ask different kids with different jobs or different capabilities, you’d get a VERY different answer)
Me: Why not?
Child: Because you knew in advance what your paycheck was going to be and you also had enough time to write the deposit ticket (Jana says: I could go off an a HUGE tangent about this but I will not).
Me: Do you think if you had bills to pay and more things you needed to buy, it would have been more difficult?
Child: Yes. Like, if I were the CEO or CFO and had to pay bills for the business, paid back loans, or paid my employees the right amount. This also goes for personal stuff. I wish we’d had more time to manage personal stuff for getting to work like transportation and buying lunch.
Me: Do you think you would have learned a little more about managing money if you had to take personal expenses into account (no pun intended)?
Me: But overall, did you learn what it takes to manage money and time at a job?
Child: Very much so. I had to make sure I had enough money to buy the things I wanted within the time I had during my breaks so I was back at work when I had to be.
Me: Do you think it’s hard to be a working adult?
Me: Last question. What your favorite part of BizTown?
Child: Being able to be the DJ when he was on break. If it were my assigned job, it might have been boring but since I only had to do it occasionally, it was fun.
Me: Anything I didn’t ask you that you want to add?
Child: GO TO BIZTOWN!!!! That is it.