JA Finance Park Virtual

“My perception of money has changed drastically. Now that I know about taxes and all of the money that everything costs, I appreciate what I have more. Also, I’ve learned that school is extremely important when it comes to my future.” —JA Finance Park Virtual 8th grade student, Howard County Public Schools

What is JA Finance Park Virtual?

As middle school students mature, they begin to make their own decisions about how to spend money. They also face countless messages trying to get them to spend more money in more ways. How can we best prepare these young people for financial responsibility and career success?

JA Finance Park Virtual is Junior Achievement’s common core-aligned capstone program for middle grades students that provides a foundation for making intelligent, lifelong personal financial decisions. It offers a hands-on, computer-based simulation of a real life situation. The circumstances provide details of the student’s lifestyle, including marital status, number of children, education, employment, and income.

Each student is asked to manage his or her life situation. The interactive online simulation guides them through an exploration of salaries, budgeting, taxes, savings, charitable giving, investments, and more. The complexity of choices and compromises quickly become apparent and require the use of critical- thinking skills to successfully complete the activity.

JA Finance Park Virtual Curriculum

Prior to the simulation, students participate in a series of teacher-driven lessons on earnings, credit, debt, banking, savings, investments, taxes, and other core financial topics.

Students then have the opportunity to apply these learnings to each aspect of their financial life when they enter JA Finance Park Virtual. During the online simulation—and within the parameters of their unique career and life situation—they will use bank services, contribute to charities, purchase housing, transportation, furnishings, food, and health care, and budget for education expenses. They will also make investment decisions and work to create and balance their personal budgets.

JA Finance Park Virtual Volunteer Experience

Volunteers for JA Finance Park Virtual have the opportunity to serve as Capstone content experts in the classroom during the pre-simulations lessons. You are invited to share your perspective and experience on personal finance concepts, as well as subject matter in a specific area of financial or work readiness expertise, such as investing, saving or career exploration. A volunteer experience typically lasts an hour, based on your availability.

Sponsor JA Finance Park Virtual

Your company can bring JA Finance Park Virtual to a school in your community or sponsor a branded shop in the online simulation. For details on sponsorship and funding opportunities, contact Kaitlin Bowman at 410-753-3293 or kbowman@jamaryland.org.