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The Savings Bank sponsors Credit for Life Fair at Wakefield Memorial High School.

More than 200 Wakefield Memorial High School seniors recently participated in the annual Credit for Life Fair sponsored by The Savings Bank at the school. The Savings Bank is a founding member of the fair that enables students across the Commonwealth to learn money management and budgeting skills they will use throughout their lifetime.

Coordinated by Ally Houghton, Marketing Coordinator at The Savings Bank, and Jaqueline Simmonds, WMHS Business Teacher, the fair was funded through a grant from the Donald J. Garrant Foundation of The Savings Bank and a Financial Education Innovation Fund Grant from the Commonwealth’s Office of Economic Empowerment.

“As one of the founding financial institutions that created the Credit for Life Fair over a decade ago, The Savings Bank has long recognized the importance of both financial literary and access to money management at an early age,” Bob DiBella, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Savings Bank said. “The Savings Bank has been at the forefront of financial education for the past four decades, beginning with the creation of the 1st Educational Savings Branch of The Savings Bank at Wakefield Memorial High School in 1981, and continuing through several decades with the CLUB (Children Learning to Understand Banking) for elementary and middle school students. Both of these programs brought banking right into the classrooms. Credit for Life is a natural progression in our goal of teaching financial skills that last a lifetime.”

According to the Barr Foundation, 86% of high school students think the most important skill they need post-graduation is understanding personal finance, yet only 30% believe they’re prepared by their schools. The National Center for Education statistics show that 1 in 5 American 15-year-olds do not understand basic financial concepts.

The students learned about paychecks and taxes, including the difference between gross and net pay and how deductions work; budgeting and the difference between needs and wants, and the difference between checking and savings accounts; credit scores and what factors influence credit scores; loans and the relationship between principal, interest and the terms of a loan; student loans and the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans; credit cards, how they work, and credit history; fraud and risk, including recognizing and protecting against scams; insurance premiums and deductibles, and why we need insurance; and compound interest and the difference between saving and investing.

The checkpoints were managed by 14 staff members from The Savings Bank and First Financial Trust, along with seven local professionals who represented Main Street Grille and Taphouse, Wakefield Community Access Television, the Town of Wakefield, and the Stonham and Wakefield Boys and Girls Club. Utilizing their take home salary, credit score, and loan obligations, the participants navigated their way around the fair to select housing options, transportation, food, clothing, etc. that were within their budget.

At the conclusion of the fair, the students met with financial counselors to review their choices, determine how well they had done, and provide help in determining what they may have done better.

“The annual Credit for Life Fair provides students the opportunity to see what decisions they may be faced with after graduation and to provide them with the tools they can use as they progress through life,” the coordinators noted. “The real-life information and experiences from local professionals are a tremendous help in guiding them along the path to financial well-being. We are grateful to the staff and volunteers who have again made this fair a great success.”

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To find out how The Savings Bank can help you achieve all your financial goals, visit one of our offices, use our contact form, or call us at 800-246-2009.

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