SANDPOINT — Seniors from all three Lake Pend Oreille high schools will get a taste of adulthood next week during their annual personal finance fair.
“Our seniors, they’re hungry for the knowledge,” said Jeralyn Mire, a post secondary counselor at Sandpoint High School. “They’re nervous. Adulting scares them.”
The finance fair on Oct. 13 brings together local businesses and dozens of volunteers to introduce seniors to budgeting, taxes and retirement topics.
“This is a community project,” Mire said.
In Idaho, learning financial literacy is considered a core skill. House Bill 92 passed in the 2023 legislative session requires high school graduates to have one semester of a personal financial literacy course.
While next week’s fair is not an official course, it’s an opportunity to provide additional experience and knowledge.
As students enter, they’re assigned a career, income amount, debt amount and other potential costs. They will go to stations and figure out how to balance paying monthly expenses — a car payment or childcare — with discretionary items like movie tickets or eating out.
The feedback last year was positive. One student remarked, “I had no idea it was so expensive to raise children. I’m going to thank my parents tonight.”
The second section of the event is a trivia style game show in which students learned about managing credit and saving money.
Mire expects about 230 seniors from Sandpoint, Clark Fork and Lake Pend Oreille high schools to attend. She estimates that 35 volunteers and 10 educators will host this year’s event. This year marks the tenth year it’s been held.
“This is kind of a rite of passage for our seniors,” Mire said.
About 93% of seniors reported that last year’s finance fair was helpful in understanding how to live within their means and the importance of budgeting, according to a school report.