Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Methuen High Host Credit for Life Fair for 5th Year

Merrimack Valley Credit Union Vice President of Retail Banking James C. Potter helps students create a budget based on their lifestyle choices. (Courtesy photograph.)

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Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Methuen High School last Friday teamed up for the fifth year to present the Credit for Life Fair to hundreds of graduating seniors.

Credit for Life is a two-hour financial simulation held at Methuen High’s Klimas Field House. Prior to the fair, students selected a profession that best fits their post-graduation plans and received an estimated salary. During the fair, students visited 15 different booths that represented financial decisions they would encounter as adults, such as attending community, state or private college; choosing between purchasing a car or a monthly public transit pass; and deciding whether to rent or own a home.

Students also learned about how their lifestyle choices, including eating out, purchasing a gym membership or owning a pet, would affect their budget. They faced a “reality check” by spinning “The Wheel of Misfortune” that includes 12 items that could either have a negative impact on a student’s budget or provide the windfall they need to keep their monthly budget in the positive.

The students finished the fair at the credit counseling booth, where volunteers analyzed the students’ spending and salary to help them understand the importance of financial planning and how their decisions ultimately impacted their budget.

Credit Union Marketing Manager Andrea Manseau, lead coordinator of the Credit for Life Fair, said, “The fair makes financial education a hands-on, immersive event that introduces students to the decisions they’ll make as adults. They get to talk to volunteers who offer not only their professional expertise, but personal experiences, as well.”

The partnership between Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Methuen High School began with the inaugural fair in 2018. The event is staffed by more than 50 volunteers from local professional and community organizations, Methuen schools and the credit union. The volunteers have face-to-face conversations with the students about the impact their choices have on their budget and offer decades of practical experience to the students.

Merrimack Valley Credit staff volunteers at the 2024 Credit for Life Fair. (Courtesy photograph.)

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