Broadwater & Northampton participate in Real Money, Real World event

March 7, 2024

By Erin Morgan, Northampton Cooperative Extension 4-H Agent

On February 29, 2024 approximately 125 students representing Broadwater Academy and Northampton High School participated in the Real Money. Real World. simulation held at Northampton High School. The program provided the students with a real-world perspective on life once school is completed. The program geared toward high school students is an annual program conducted by Northampton 4-H. 

The goal of this program is to educate students about comprehensive money management skills, the financial planning process, and to help them begin to develop positive behaviors that are necessary to attain financial maturity and achieve a secure future. This program offered students hands-on learning in an environment that correlates to Standards of Learning and educational mandates.

The program includes a classroom portion and the simulation. During the classroom portion of the program the students are assigned careers, children, and spouses. The students then learn the difference between gross pay and net pay as they work with 4-H agent, Erin Morgan, to calculate standard deductions taken out of a normal pay check. Deductions include: federal taxes, state taxes, FICA, health insurance, and retirement. The students then take their net pay and assigned debt, which includes credit and students’ loans, to the simulation. 

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The simulation is run by local community organizations and individuals who donate their time to provide the students with a meaningful experience. The volunteers run booths that the students have to visit to purchase housing, transportation, utilities, clothing, child care, insurance, etc. with their net pay. The goal is to try to “pay” all their bills without running out of money. At the finish line the students discuss the program with the volunteers and complete a survey about their experience. Student responses on the surveys include: “Kids are expensive”; “I had no idea things were so expensive”; “Money really doesn’t go that far”; “I need to re-evaluate my career choices for the future”; and “Life is Expensive”.  

Volunteers who participated stated they were amazed that students were making correlations between expenses for the simulation and the expenses their parents have to pay. Others commented that they enjoyed seeing the students thinking through their choices and asking questions on ways to lower cost. All the volunteers said they enjoyed their morning helping the students learn and would like to be involved in the future. 

Northampton 4-H purchased the curriculum to conduct this program from Ohio State University and offers it free of charge to the schools in Northampton County each year. 4-H would like to extend a special thanks to Northampton High school for hosting the simulation in their school gym. Northampton 4-H would like to thank the 30 individuals who volunteered their time to run booths for the simulation. 

This program is a part of Virginia Cooperative Extension through 4-H. If you would like more information on this program please contact Erin Morgan, Northampton County 4-H Agent, at 757-678-7946. 


Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

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