Building strong money management skills matters. Knowing how money works, how money is earned and how to manage it is just the start. Children should learn early how to save, to invest and to donate. To do so effectively they need to understand how income and expenses work together, how interest works. Understanding the complex world of financial management will help them make better financial decisions in their future.
But how do we teach financial literacy to children & students? We give them an allowance, teach them to save some and spend the remainder wisely. Beyond that teaching money management can be, well, pretty boring right? Not necessarily.
Children and young adults learn best when they are engaged and we know video games capture their interest. Recognizing this trend, Doorways to Dreams Fund has created 6 “Financial Entertainment” game titles around different financial learning topics:
Celebrity Calamity – credit card debt & spending
Groove Nation – Budgeting
Farm Blitz – Compound interest, debt & savings
Bite Club – saving & investing for retirement
Refund Rush – tax-time saving
Celebrity Calamity Mobile – credit card debt & spending
You can play any of these games online, for free with or without a login account. With an account you can keep track of your scores, participate in leader boards and open up some restricted functionality but a login is not necessary.
Well-known video games can also build strong money management concepts and ideas. Nearly every popular video game today has some form of currency that the player needs to learn how to manage. After completing tasks or jobs a player gets money which they have to spend on other items to advance the game. In SimCity, the popular simulation game where you are the mayor of a city who has to budget accordingly, players can chose to open up different industries or jobs where they will receive a certain amount of income per day. But it is not just making money. Everything that makes a profit has regular expenses (like paying rent, etc.) as well as one-off expenses (disasters, injuries, etc.). Children playing these games get an early sense of budgeting and how to manage events, which they can learn to relate to the real world.
Traditional board games are also available as mobile apps. Some that can teach good money management include The Game of Life, Monopoly and Payday.
So your kids can have fun playing their favourite video games and learn some money management skills at the same time. Discussing these ‘lessons’ with your children in the guise of talking about how the game works can be a great opportunity to drive home a few life-long money management tips.