On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, I attended the Financial Literacy Summit 2014 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. I’m looking forward to sharing my report with you about the Summit, including photos, in an upcoming Post. But, some of the ideas talked about via the various panel discussions included the following:
● The powerful impact that technology is bringing to the table for financial literacy.
● The use of gamification or games to teach financial literacy principles to kids.
Jennifer Tescher, the president & ceo of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, said that gamification is a growing trend in teaching money basics to kids. She did say that, “A lot more work needs to be done to find what works, but there is potential.”
Quite a few gaming applications are out in the marketplace. One of the tasks on my checklist for MoneyBasicsU is to review the game programs out on the Internet and pass the information on to you. In the interim, let’s look at just three game programs to start the conversation. I will circle back on this topic in the near future.
Practical Money Skills for Life. * The website provides a laundry list of game programs to interest every taste. (The music on some of these games are toe tappers!) Here is a list of the programs available to play, which teach money principles in different venues:
√ Financial Football
√ Cash Puzzler
√ Countdown to Retirement
√ Ed’s Bank
√ Financial Soccer
√ Money Metropolis
√ Peter Pig’s Money Counter
√ Road Trip to Savings
The website also provides a lot of other material including personal finance articles, resources for educators, calculators and videos.
Yesterday, Bill Sheedy, Global Executive of Corporate Strategy at Visa Inc. introduced one of the panels. He said mentioned that the company has been committed to financial literacy for over twenty years. With the resources at hand, they have provided an excellent game program for kids to learn about money.
MoneyIsland. I have to admit to a bias for enjoying the MoneyIsland game program because I used it teach money basics to kids when I worked in banking. It’s available for the public to play, but only through the first section of the game. In order to obtain full access to the game, you have to find a community bank that offers it. (The company, BancVue, offers this game as a product for community banks to provide on their website). Here’s the approach I would recommend.
Step #1: Google your area to see if a community bank in your town offers the program. If they do, sign up the kids. It’s free and the banks offering the program typically include incentives for participating. An example is when the child has gone through the series they receive a gift card or monies toward a savings account at the bank.
Step #2: If you don’t have a community bank in your area, simply type the words Moneyisland community bank. A list of banks will come up in the search listing. Simply pick a bank and sign up. Although your child won’t receive any of the incentives, they can still enjoy the game.
I must admit, from the institution’s perspective, Step #2 isn’t the preferred because they aren’t in a position to develop a direct customer relationship with you. However, the way I see it – it’s the responsibility of financial institutions to educate kids about money. If some of the recipients of that knowledge are outside a bank’s area, they are still giving back to the community, just in a broader sense.
Mad Money. This game is part of the PBS Kids website “It’s My Life.” From the home page, you can select Money which will launch you to the portal page for the game Mad Money. It’s an interactive program that teaches the principle of smart spending and saving. The player selects an item he/she wants to buy. They will have 30 days (clicks away while you play the game) to earn, save and spend and endeavor to have enough funds left over to make the purchase. It’s a simple game that young people will go through fairly quickly and see how choices impact your bottom line.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to the doing the research on all the games available for young people (and we kids at heart!) to learn the basics about money. In the interim, I encourage you to check out the above programs to get started.
If you want to see a really cool opening to a game program, check out Financial Football or Financial Soccer at Practical Money Skills for Life.
BancVue website, MoneyIsland game that teaches financial literacy topics
PBSKids website, “It’s My Life”