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4-H Real Money. Real World. Financial Literacy in the Classroom

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Real Money. Real World. (RMRW) is a youth-focused financial literacy program from Ohio State University Extension that has now been adopted by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. It is ideally suited to be used with youth in middle to high school. The curriculum is time-tested and has been highly successful because of the creative community efforts of Extension educators, local school teachers, and community volunteers.

Real Money. Real World. is fun and distinctive because it includes an interactive spending simulation that provides the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those made by 27-year-old adults. As a program of the North Carolina 4-H, the most preferred and successful RMRW programs are partnerships of the county 4-H Extension office, the school, and the business community. RMRW has three parts:

Part I: Four preparatory classroom lessons

Part II: A hands-on budget management and decision-making spending simulation

Part III: A post-session evaluation of spending choices made during the simulation

Real Money. Real World. has three primary goals:

  1. To increase participants’ awareness of how education level and corresponding career choice influence personal income and financial security.
  2. To increase the students’ knowledge of money management tools used in daily spending for cost-of-living decisions.
  3. To increase participants’ awareness of how income and lifestyle choices affect the amount of money available for discretionary spending.

RMRW is designed to increase participant awareness related to:

  • How the type of job affects how much income can be earned.
  • The level of education needed to get the job desired.
  • The amount of money deducted from paychecks for taxes, other withholdings, health insurance, and retirement.
  • How financial institutions help with personal money management.
  • What it costs to maintain a household.
  • What it costs to care for a child.
  • How every spending decision affects other spending opportunities.

RMRW Performance Outcomes

Because of RMRW, youth will place more importance on and plan for changes related to:

  • Doing well in school.
  • Getting more education or training after high school.
  • Waiting until financially ready before having children.
  • Having a plan for spending that includes both needs and wants.
  • Learning how to make financial decisions that adjust spending to match income.
  • Saving money regularly.

Gaston County 4-H offers the Real Money. Real World. financial literacy program free of charge to schools within Gaston County. If you have any other questions about the Real Money. Real World. program, contact Christie German, Gaston County 4-H Youth Development Agent:  704.922.2126 or email: