East Hawaii News

High School Students Learn ‘Mad Money’ Skills

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Members of HFS Federal Credit Union’s marketing team presented seniors from St. Joseph School with a crash-course on decision making and how it affects everything from paying off student loans to saving up for a new car or home.

A group of 15 seniors were part of an interactive presentation called “Mad City Money,” which was presented by HFS FCU Marketing Coordinator Ashley De Mattos and Marketing Specialist Jesica Pacheco.

“It’s transporting the students into the future,” De Mattos explained. “They have a career, a spouse for some of them. They all have children, and they all have debt…It’s actually making them make decisions on what kind of lifestyle they want to have, versus what they can actually afford.”


Each student filled out a ledger that tracked their spending. They then had to make decisions on how they wanted to live and how it would fit into their budgets, choosing everything from the type of house they would want to live in to the kinds of activities their families would enjoy. At the end, each student would be able to figure out how much they have saved, how much would go toward their debt, and how much is remaining, even factoring in unexpected problems.

“I learned how expensive kids are, especially newborns,” said St. Joseph student Cole DeSilva. “They are very expensive, especially if you want the right kind of care for them, the right supplies and everything.”

Students were informed about more than just how much it would cost to take care of a child or to furnish their dream home. They were also taught about what factors to consider when choosing a financial institution while at college, especially away from home, accessibility to debit and credit cards, and choosing the right savings and checking accounts. They also learned the difference between a credit union and a bank.


This isn’t the first time that HFS FCU staffers have gone to a school to present “Mad City Money.” Last fall, a number of employees traveled to Kamehameha-Hawai’i to give students at the school a reality of balancing a family’s budget is like.

“We would love to bring it to Kona,” said De Mattos. “We really feel like this is something all children should learn in high school. It’s fitting for pretty much any child in high school. We like to present to seniors, in particular.”

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