Reality Store is a financial simulation where high school students choose careers and make decisions about their budgets and lifestyles. The activity is a fun and effective way for students to learn about personal accounting, financial responsibility and life choices, and interact with business people.
The project involves one or more local schools and 30- to 40-plus local business volunteers. Students receive “paychecks” and random information regarding individual marital status and parenthood. They also receive checkbooks and instructions on making purchases. Business volunteers, including CPAs, staff stations around a gymnasium or other large space.
Stations include taxes, financial institution, real estate, apartment rentals, apparel, car dealer, credit cards, day care, gasoline, charities, memberships, entertainment, “fate,” gasoline, government, grocery store, insurance, investments, household products, phone company, cable TV and utilities. (Schools determine their own stations.) Students visit the stations, write checks and balance their checkbooks. Upon completion, they assess their decisions and financial status.
Watch a video of a Reality Store in action in Madison.
The WICPA does not coordinate these events. However, we do recruit our CPA members to volunteer at them. Many high schools have provided the WICPA with dates and contact information for their Reality Stores. See a list for 2013-2014. If you would like to volunteer at a Reality Store near you, contact the person on the list and also tell Mary Murray, Membership Marketing and Student Initiatives Manager, who keeps track of WICPA members who volunteer.