Haverhill Bank staffers Joshua Ethier and Kristina Parkhurst discuss finance with Haverhill High School students. (Courtesy photograph.)
A student has only so much money, faces monthly expenses, needs a car and is worried about credit scores.
That was the kind of dilemma placed before Haverhill High School juniors and seniors during the recent Fourth Annual Credit for Life Fair at Northern Essex Community College, sponsored by Haverhill Bank.
For those students enrolled in the school’s Financial Literacy Program, the Credit for Life Fair required them to make real-life financial decisions based on fixed salary and credit score. Budgeting decisions made throughout the course of the day included whether to live alone or have roommates, buy or lease a car, how to save for short- and long-term goals and balancing monthly expenses such as phone, cable and internet plans.
Prizes were also awarded to students. Holly McGrath and Avrey Cerow were awarded prom tickets from Haverhill Bank and Haverhill High School for their attire, professionalism and overall budgeting abilities. Esmeralda Vargas and Joseph Fenderson were awarded free tux rentals from Men’s Wearhouse for their attire.
Haverhill Patrolman William Mears was also on hand to distribute “fines” for traffic violations, and a “Reality Check” booth was set up to offer students the opportunity to skip a student loan payment, gain an inheritance to offset their budget or learn about unexpected costs such as veterinarian visits and car troubles. Students were also given the opportunity to sign up for a teen volunteer night at Emmaus in exchange for $100 toward their monthly income.
After all budgeting decisions had been made, counselors from Haverhill Bank met with the students to review their final budget one-on-one to ensure solvency or to help students learn how to live within their means.
In addition to Haverhill Bank, many local organizations donated their time and expertise to the Fair, including Cedardale, Salon Riza, Emmaus, Men’s Wearhouse and Coldwell Banker.