Thursday, March 5, 2009

Proving once again that accountants really are smart

A grant from the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants paid for yesterday's "Reality Check" event for Janesville high school students.

Armed with a checkbook, students went through a series of real life "stations," such as taxes, housing and transportation, writing checks and watching their money disappear.

Other stations collected money for utilities, insurance, clothing, groceries and gas.
Then students had to navigate through a variety of optional stations, including entertainment, family activities and dining out. Other options included charities, spa services and pets.

Finally, "fate" visited students, doling out financial surprises in the form of unexpected expenses or windfalls.

To make everything a little more complicated, a wandering police officer and health official doled out tickets and health-related events. Run through a stop sign? Pay a ticket. Strep throat? Pay the doctor.

Rtwt - some of the students' choices are fun and funny.

Considering the prevailing attitude among younger adults that they deserve a certain quality of life whether they earn it or not,* and considering how society pays for it in bankruptcies, bad debt and unpaid taxes, it's a big favor the accountants are doing us all with this fun but all-too-real exercise.

Plus, they get the perk of expecting a little less whining and a more earnest attempt by their clients to dig out those receipts and to know more about how to reduce their tax debt.

*This is my experience based on years teaching at the college level.

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