Just like walking, reading and driving a car, financial skills are learned. But too often parents and schools ignore this important subject, leaving kids to learn by trial and error. Unfortunately, this can be an expensive mistake.
These days, there’s no excuse for letting these lessons go by the wayside. Becoming financially literate is just a click away.
Here are 5 online games that teach financial skills, as recommended by Utopia:
Payback: This presents prospective college students with an array of choices: Buy new or used books? Pick a community college or prestigious private university? Bring a car to school or ride a bike? Through such options, players learn what they’ll need to budget for. Even better: they can compete for $125,000 in college scholarships.
Spent: Choose a minimum wage job and then cope with financial challenges as you try to pay for health insurance, an apartment, unexpected bills and more on a limited income. Talk about impossible: We used up all our money by Day 6 of the month.
Financial Football/ Financial Soccer: Created by VISA, the games advance players up a 3-D field as they answer financial questions; for instance: “Which usually pays the highest interest rate? (Savings account/Checking account/ Money Market account/ Debit Card account)”? You can choose Easy, Medium or Hard questions; thus, the more you play, the more you learn.
Shady Sam: Working with loan shark Shady Sam, players choose the loan terms that will reap sleazy Sam the most profit as clients appear seeking money. When players choose correctly, Sam’s shoots them encouraging emails (“You’re killin’ the game. I’m so proud…I’ll be out of the office for the next week, taking a nice vacation to the Bahamas. Hold the fort down for me, eh?”). You also learn about sneaky fees and the many other ways choosing the wrong loan can be disastrous.
Stax: Start with a generous monthly income, choose various investment opportunities and deal with unexpected challenges, such as learning that your home needs a $10,000 power washing because it’s covered in lead paint. You’ll see your fortunes rise and fall, based on the choices you make.