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Money Smart

Organizing Reality Fairs

Last Updated: October 12, 2022

Reality Fairs

A Reality Fair is a simulation of an adult’s financial life that provides youth with an interactive experience for making real world financial decisions and managing money. Participants experience what it is like to have an account at a financial institution, decide how to use their money, obtain a loan, manage debt, and more.

A Reality Fair can be a single event or combined with a financial education program. FDIC offers two instructor-led financial education curriculums to support additional learning: Money Smart for Young People and Money Smart for Young Adults. The FDIC developed the Money Smart for Young People series for the K-12 school settings whereas Money Smart for Young Adults supports training for 16-24 year olds in a variety of settings.

The FDIC created its Guide to Organizing a Reality Fair to help organizers plan and execute a fair. The toolkit includes pre- and post-planning checklists, room layouts, sample letters to participants, parents and volunteers, and it includes participant profiles and booth information for use during the event. With this toolkit, anyone can organize a Reality Fair—bankers, community leaders, educators, etc. And, Reality Fairs can be held in various settings, for example, schools, summer youth employment programs, clubs, etc.

Bankers interested in organizing a Reality Fair, or providing financial education to youth in general, can consider joining the FDIC’s Youth Banking Network and reviewing the Youth Employment Resource Center.