How Gamification Can Help You Understand Your Finances
We look at how gamification can make you financially literate and help you understand difficult concepts such as the stock market and saving techniques.
Gamification is a red-hot tech trend. But can it help you reach your financial goals?
Companies are turning to gamification to draw users to their apps. The idea is simple — people are more likely to save money and work towards their goals if you stimulate their brain’s reward circuitry. Financial apps use gamification to teach everyday people about the finer points of personal finance and the financial industry.
Popular Finance Apps and Platforms
There are plenty of apps that can simplify any financial goal or concept. Whether you are looking to become more financially literate or save for a wedding, there will be a gamified option to make things much easier and more fun.
Some platforms use a very subtle form of gamification. For example, Digit’s prize-based ethos motivates you to keep your money in your savings account — hardly a “game” by any stretch of the imagination. Acorns is an app built on similar principles, teaching investors the basics of saving money and building wealth. The app invests your spare change and triggers the brain’s reward center, helping you see how small contributions can build to a significant sum.
Stock Battle gives you an opportunity to arrange a portfolio of your favorite stocks and crypto to win cash prizes during games.
Qapital is another relatively subtle app that involves creating savings buckets for various financial goals. However, Qapital does have a “Money Missions” feature. These are challenges designed by economists to help you spend more wisely.
Other platforms are more obvious in their approach to gamification. Commonwealth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable people build financial security, introduced its SavingsQuest platform in 2015. Available as a mobile app or online, this game sees users earn badges and complete tasks by meeting their financial goals. In the months following the launch of the app, Commonwealth announced that users had accumulated $300,000 collectively and saved 25% more than other cardholders.
Long Game is another gamified financial platform. This app involves users opening an FDIC-insured savings account with Blue Ridge Bank and then partaking in a series of mini-games. Essentially, the more money you save, the more games and rewards you unlock on the app.
Nestlings is a similar platform that tries to make saving money fun. The app features serious cartoon avatars that perform an action based on your actual spending habits. The Fortune City app takes this concept a step further and lets you build an entire city by recording your expenses and mark smart financial decisions.
And the fun does not stop if you want to save with a partner or friend. The Twine app is designed for couples who share the same financial goal, offering a progress tracker so you can try to “outsave” the other person. If you have children, Goalsetter is a platform that lets you pay your kids’ allowance based on whether they correctly answer a series of finance-focused trivia questions.
How to Use Gamification to Achieve Financial Goals
No matter your financial goals, there will be an app or game that helps you meet them.
- Do you like to challenge yourself without being too competitive? Use an app like Acorns to invest your spare change. Additionally, you can use Qapital to gamify the art of saving money.
- Maybe you prefer to compete against other people. If you like to compare your progress with friends, an app like Twine can help you spend smarter and show off afterwards.
- Want to make some extra cash easily? Apps like Digit are a great way to earn bonuses just by holding funds in your account.
- Or perhaps you enjoy building entire worlds. If you are the kind of person who can spend hours on Animal Crossing or The Sims, apps like Fortune City and Nestlings can help you make smart financial decisions to thrive in-game.
How to Learn About the Stock Market Through Gamification
Over the past year, the stock market has seen more interest from regular people than ever. Thanks to the availability of trading platforms like Robinhood opening up the idea of investing to a broader audience.
However, this comes with certain downfalls. Trading apps are less about financial education and more about inexperienced people looking for the thrill of investment with no real idea about the best stocks to pick. In fact, in a study conducted by eToro, nearly 80% of private day traders lose real money every year. The huge swings and declines are catching new traders off-guard, which could lead to financial ruin for those who are not well-versed in trading.
If you want to learn about the stock market in a fun and financially risk-free way, you may want to consider a fantasy trading platform like StockBattle.
StockBattle combines the thrill of fantasy finance gaming with the unpredictable nature of the stock market. The app lets you follow real-life companies and try various investment strategies to see how they would play out in real life.
New to the market, StockBattle is built on the same mechanics as many fantasy sports games and is based on real-time interplay with the stock market thanks to Nasdaq data. This is a great way to create your own virtual portfolio of fantasy stocks without owning any real shares.
Is It a Good Idea to Gamify Your Finances?
When it comes to financial gamification, you must remain vigilant and cautious. Playing with your hard-earned savings has real-world ramifications. You cannot just turn the app off and try again if things go wrong, especially if your finance app of choice is the Robinhood trading app. Luckily, there are apps like StockBattle available to teach you the ins and outs of stock trading, while eliminating the risks.
It is also possible to get addicted to online games. Most financial apps focus on helping you save money, but if you have had problems with gambling in the past, you may want to stay away from any app that could cause financial difficulty.
We would also recommend researching any apps that want you to connect your bank account or access your financial information. Check user reviews and Better Business Bureau rating to make sure financial journalists approve the app. You should read or watch tutorials to ensure you know how to navigate any app safely and securely.
As you can see, gamification can help you understand and enjoy dealing with your personal finances. It is no secret many people find this concept difficult to understand. If you are looking to improve your knowledge of financial systems or even try your hand at day trading, these apps are a great place to start — as long as you use them responsibly.