Reality Fairs

Volunteer & NCUF Deputy Executive Director Tom Candell counsels a teen on her budget after she visited all the booths at NCUF's Reality Fair at GAC.

A Reality Fair (or “Financial Reality Fair”) is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students. The Reality Fair concept is a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own. It’s a hands-on experience in which students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Additional expenditures such as entertainment and travel are factored in as well.

Throughout the fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own. After the students have visited the various booths covering components of independent living, students balance their budget, and then sit down with a financial counselor for review.

After NCUF held their first Reality Fair at GAC, David Mauldin, Vice Principal of H.D. Woodson High School said, “I think the fair engaged our students in the process of learning more effectively than any field trip I personally have ever seen. Soon many of them will be out in the real world where every day is a ‘financial reality fair.’ They are all more prepared to make wiser choices because of this event.”

For detailed information about Reality Fairs, see pages 32-34 of the Resource Guide for "Credit Unions: Focused on Financial Capability Across the Nation."


Questions? Contact Lois Kitsch at or (407) 616-2409.