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Citizens Bank Launches Personal Finance Simulation Program

New program designed to help local high schools provide financial education and life skills


August 30, 2023 – To coincide with the start of the 2023-24 school year, Citizens Bank has announced the launch of Real Life 101, a new personal finance simulation program geared to high school students. The program, which has been in development since February, underwent a successful inaugural run at Palmyra-Eagle High School in May.

Real Life 101 is an interactive simulation where students must manage a monthly household budget. Participants start by choosing a career path which determines their income as well as their amount of student loan debt. They are then given a family situation including their marital status and number of children. During the simulation, students must make decisions about their spending on necessities including housing, transportation, clothing, and childcare to see if they can also afford items such as entertainment, travel, pets, or charitable giving. Event volunteers help students evaluate their budgets and work through the decision-making process.

As part of the program, Citizens Bank provides materials to schools so teachers and students can prepare ahead of the simulation. Bank facilitators are also available to deliver an introductory session to participants. The simulation itself takes about three hours and can be facilitated on-site in a school gymnasium or other large indoor gathering space.

“We saw lots of positives with students realizing just how many expenses there are and just how much things actually can cost,” said Palmyra- Eagle business education teacher Matt Sockrider.

It’s exciting to be able to bring Real Life 101 to life. The program is a key addition to Citizens Bank’s commitment to partnering with schools in our communities to provide financial education programming to suit all age and grade levels,” said Cheryl Chapman, Community Relations Director at Citizens Bank. Chapman is a former teacher who designed the program with input from other bank employees.

In addition to Real Life 101, Citizens Bank has financial education presentations for elementary and middle school students. Citizens employees are regular visitors at local schools to talk about the various career paths available in banking.

To learn more about Real Life 101, which is currently available to high schools in Waukesha, Walworth, or western Racine counties, contact Cheryl Chapman at 262-378-4841 or