Life Simulation: Experiencing Poverty

The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. It is unique and special because it combines the financial and emotional distress that 25 simulated families tackle as one of up to 90 participants. This exercise is an ideal staff training program that can also be used as an event break out session, a chapter meeting or to host a community event.

During the three hour activity, these “families” are struggling to make ends meet in the simulated month of four fifteen minute weeks. At the conclusion of the exercise (this is not a game), participants will be more aware to the daily realities of many American families. Walking in another’s shoes is a far more effective way to sensitize others to the needs of immigrants and other low-wage working families than from traditional diversity or classroom learning.

Each Life Simulation kit from the Foundation contains all of the physical materials you will need to host a fair with up to 90 participants along with a facilitators guides, four corresponding instructional webinars and a guide to rebuild the kit after it has been used.

Order a Life Simulation Kit:

     > By Mail

**Note: The purchase of a Life Simulation kit is restricted to credit unions, leagues and state Foundations. Please allow a few weeks for the simulation to arrive after purchase. Contact for any questions or concerns. 

For Questions... Andy Johnson, Senior Program Manager, at (608) 231-4956 or

“Being able to put yourself in your member’s shoes as they live week to week and day to day, and the frustration of all the obstacles placed in front of them opens your eyes to all the potential products, services and solutions we as a credit union can offer to improve the quality of our members’ lives.”
- Jeff Kunberger
Service Center Manager
Suncoast CU
PODCAST: Ways to Leverage the Life Simulation Exercise

Click here to listen to a Foundation podcast about three different ways credit unions have held a Life Simulation.