On Wednesday, November 20th, members of The Suburban Collection, with partner Ally Financial, supported  Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan in a day of financial literacy at the JA Finance Park in Detroit, which The Suburban Collection helped open in 2017 . The day consisted of activities like setting a budget, planning shopping lists and paying “bills.” Students in the Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan have been learning about financial institutions, careers, taxes, budgeting, credit, and more, and this hands-on “simulation event”  provides them with a real-life learning opportunity.


The students were assigned a persona and given a tablet, which linked to a program they utilized for the simulation experience. The persona included career, salary, family situation, and any debt and/or savings information. The students then use  this information to create a monthly budget and plan for bills, childcare, etc. 


Volunteers from The Suburban Collection served as group facilitators and student mentors as students participated in the days events. The students began by  calculating their net monthly income and a discussion around the personas the students were given, including about their income, education, credit score and existing debt. They then allocated that savings to three saving funds: retirement, emergency funds, and other savings. 


The students then moved into the research and budgeting portion of the day, visiting each business to “unlock” it on their tablet. They then discussed, with the volunteers and other students, the information about each business. Students then created their revised monthly budget, at which point they were required to allocate 100% of their household monthly net income.


Shopping was the next phase of their day. Since the students already set their budgets, here  they learned whether they were accurate in their budgeting. While they were allowed to spend more money in one category than previously budgeted, they could not  spend more than their total income or dip into their savings.


How did students “pay” for their goods? Each student was issued a debit card. In addition, some bills were automatically deducted from their “bank accounts.” The day concluded with a  debriefing session. Students then received a final report on their tablets that detailed their life scenarios and decisions. 


Junior Achievement of Southeast Michigan is the youth arm of economic development in the region. It teaches young people the business of life: financial literacy, workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking.  Junior Achievement of Southeast MichiganFinance Park provides not only the simulation but also gives students a rare, hands-on opportunity to put what they are learning into action. Investing in today’s youth is paramount and something we at The Suburban Collection feel passionate about. They are the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.