San Diego students in for financial wake up call

Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 22:30:41-04

SAN DIEGO - High schoolers in San Diego seem to learn more about sex education and drivers education than managing money, but that is all about to change.

10News learned that more than 7,000 10th grade students in the San Diego Unified School District are in for a financial wake up call.

Kearny Mesa High School sophomore Devon Jones is among the many district students learning about personal finance. As part of a unique program, Jones pretended to be an auditor earning $80,000 a year with a wife and child to support.

"With all the bills that I had to pay, I wasn't able to buy that extra stuff, like how my parents do," Jones said.

Jones and his peers were going through what other students will over the next year -- Junior Achievement's Finance Park simulator. It replicates many of the responsibilities of managing money, like rent, taxes, insurance, and resisting temptations like entertainment and eating out.

Jones learned life in high-cost San Diego would involve sacrifices.

"I wanted to buy two cars, one for me and one for my wife, but I quickly learned I cannot do that," he said, noting that he'd have to take the bus to work every day.

It's a lesson he said he hadn't learned before, and he's not alone.

An organization called the Center for Financial Literacy gave California an "F" when it came to teaching students about personal finance.

"We built Finance Park to prepare students for what happens after high school," said Marla Black, president of Junior Achievement San Diego. "When young adults learn how to manage personal finances, explore various career paths and plan for their future, they will reach their full potential and dream for a brighter future."

Jones, 15, said he learned a lot during the simulation, including that he had to buy car insurance if he bought a car.

But he said he doesn't want to be an auditor anyway, adding, "I want to be a professional athlete, a football player."

In that case, he could buy as many cars as he wants and have many left over for San Diego's high cost of living.