If you want to get the kids to complete a task assiduously and effectively, the best way of doing so is to make a game of it. It’s a trick passed down through the generations, we can all remember falling for it in childhood, and it is something most of us do ourselves now the boot is on the other foot.
Yet according to journalist and author Kristen Wong, the gamification concept is as effective on adults as it is on children. Wong is the author of last year’s highly rated publication Get Money, and says that making a game of finances is about more than just making it “fun.” It also helps those who have an inherent nervousness of financial matters to really take control and feel that they are mastering their money, not the other way around.
Games people play
Combining gaming and money is nothing new. People have been playing poker, roulette and blackjack for years, in games that combine strategy with good old fashioned luck. In today’s world of online gaming, players check comparison sites like https://free-spins.org/new-casino-bonuses/?lang=en-ca as one smart way to the steal a march on the laws of probability. But Wong is not just talking about gambling strategies when she discusses making a game of our finances.
Taking a lesson from the business world
Forward-thinking businesses have been using gamification to get employees enthusiastic about monotonous tasks, or to make potentially challenging concepts more approachable, for years. Perhaps the best example is Microsoft, which used the concept to enhance performance, increase motivation and roll out training to thousands of sales agents worldwide. If something works in a business environment, you will more often than not find that it can be just as effective at home.
Making money management child’s play
By taking cues from both gamification in business and the “making a game of it” techniques that we use to, for example, persuade a child to tidy his room, we can make financial management a far less threatening concept.
The average household’s finances can look daunting, particularly to those who don’t feel they have a head for money. Just trying to balance debt repayments against essential household expenses can seem like an impossible conundrum. The beauty of gamification is that it provides a way to break down the different components of personal finance into bite-sized chunks.
So for example, one round of the game might be to look at all those credit card and store card debts and find a way to reduce the total monthly repayment, perhaps by refinancing or prioritizing the repayments on those debts with the highest interest rates. Another day can bring another challenge. See just how much you can reduce the monthly direct debits simply by phoning utility suppliers and telling them you want a better deal.
None of these concepts are anything earth-shatteringly innovative. The difference is in the way these tasks are approached. Gamification takes the fear factor out of financial management. If it also means we can save some money and have a little bit of fun at the same time, that has to be a winning combination.