If you’ve ever tried to learn about compound interest, budgeting, or any other financial topic, you might have found yourself getting bored and frustrated at one point or another. That’s because these topics can be quite dense and difficult to understand, especially if you’ve never had exposure to them before.
With this in mind, companies have started to devise strategies to make financial education more engaging, and dare we say it, fun! Through technology and games, learning about finance can be more fun than you could ever have imagined.
Education + Entertainment = Edutainment
Edutainment is the skillful combination of learning (education) with games and simulations (entertainment). It uses various learning methods and information packaged in a fun, engaging way that allows users to learn new material while they play games. Today, it’s easier than ever to combine learning and entertainment. That’s because digital gaming is more popular than ever, and the merging of these two worlds has come closer than before.
Various games can help teach financial literacy topics; like budgeting, investing, and saving money. And these games aren’t just for kids; they can also help adults. Here are a few games currently on the market that can help you learn more about finance and have fun at the same time.
Financial education games
A virtual stock exchange of sorts, MarketWatch lets you get your hands dirty on trading in the market. Virtual stock trading is a perfect way for interested investors to get their feet wet before risking their own capital in the market. First-time investors are often scared off because they don’t understand how the market works, but with MarketWatch, they can learn on the fly.
No real currency is used in the game, and instead, users play with virtual currency of no value. The kicker is that the game lets you trade in tandem with the actual stock market, meaning the move from the game to real-world trading is seamless. You can even play alongside your friends to see who can make the most money in the market.
Financial institution MassMutual created FutureSmart to teach young adults financial literacy tools. The game simulates personal finance decisions that the average person might make throughout their life. The journey begins as a digital character in their teenage years and moves throughout adulthood, all the way through retirement. Through simulating real-life scenarios, users are prompted to make tough financial decisions and learn from these decisions as the game moves forward. According to the company, over 2 million children and young adults have already used FutureSmart to improve their financial literacy.
Created in partnership between the NFL and VISA, Financial Football teaches you financial concepts while playing one of the world’s most popular sports. There are varying levels of difficulty depending on the user’s age and knowledge level. Teachers can even use the game in class with their students for learning in real-time. Within the game, users are prompted with a series of financial questions. Answer correctly, and you will find success on the field, but answer incorrectly, and your team will succumb to the opponent.
Jason Alderman, vice president of global financial literacy at VISA, notes how important it is to engage young people to grow their financial skills. “Teaching consumers about money through ‘edutainment’ or ‘gamification’ is an effective means of demystifying a complicated subject by using the compelling and familiar medium of video games to learn while having fun,” says Alderman.
It’s been around for decades, but you might not realize how much SimCity can teach you when it comes to financial tools. The game puts you in charge of a major city and all the headaches that come with it. That means planning, budgeting, taxes, and prioritizing public services. SimCity is certainly not an easy game to master, but it puts you right in the middle of making key financial decisions from the other side of the table. Through playing it, you can get a better sense of the difficult choices city officials have to make, where your tax money goes, and how city planning works.
Other city building games are available, as are similar games with different themes, which teach the same concepts. These include Roller Coaster Tycoon, Cities Skylines, and Game Dev Tycoon, among others.
Bonus game: The Bummer Game
While its name makes the game sound depressing, The Bummer Game shows you why insurance is a valuable financial tool. The game takes you through various life scenarios and offers you different types of insurance based on life circumstances. The game covers all types of insurance, from pet insurance to life insurance and everything in between. It even helps you understand the different types of insurance available, their costs, and what they cover. When you spin the Bummer wheel and an unfortunate scenario arises, you can see how the insurance coverage you selected helps cover the costs.
Learning finance can be fun
Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to learn about finance. So, if you want to retain more of the info you are learning and enjoy yourself at the same time, check out some of these finance games specifically designed to keep you engaged. These games are for everyone, children and adults alike.