Each year America's high schools graduate thousands of young adults who are unprepared to make financial decisions. Real Money, Real World is an active, hands-on experience that gives students the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will make as adults. It is intended to be a partnership between OSU Extension, schools, and the business community. OSU Extension professionals have developed a curriculum that simulates real-life experiences to help youth achieve financial literacy.  Real Money, Real World consists of the following five lessons:

  1. Training, Jobs, and Income
  2. Deductions: What You See Is Not What You Get
  3. How to Use Financial Services Wisely
  4. Making Choices: Preparing for the Simulation
  5. What Did You Learn?

Throughout the duration of the program, students assume the role of a 27-year-old adult who is the sole income provider for their family. They are given an occupation, a monthly salary, and a number of children to raise. Students learn to subtract savings, taxes, and health insurance amounts from their income. The amount of money left over is what they have to spend during the simulation activity. The simulation involves community volunteers who represent actual businesses in the community, and these volunteers set up and staff booths representing real-life businesses. By visiting the appropriate booths, students spend their salaries on items typically found in a monthly budget including housing, utilities, groceries, insurance, childcare, and transportation. Throughout the activity, students keep track of their finances and attempt to complete the simulation with a positive balance. During the post-simulation lesson, students reflect on their experience and what they learned by completing a self-assessment. 

If you teach 6th grade through high school in Warren County, email Laura Stanton (stanton.60@osu.edu) to learn more about Real Money, Real World. You can also call the OSU Extension office in Warren County at 513-695-1311. 

R$RW Photo

2022 Real Money, Real World Overview for Warren County (PDF)

2021 ALL NEW- Real Money, Real World Virtual Program