You Awake To Find Yourself in the Middle of a Forest ... And You’re Broke

Financial literacy campaigns are using games to blur the lines between recreation and education for many Americans.


Money may disappear like magic, especially during the holiday shopping season, but a new learning tool created by and aimed at arming today’s middle schoolers with basic financial literacy, can make money a little less mysterious, reports FastCompany.

Developed in partnership with Scholastic, the program features a wizard mascot in a series of games, puzzles, and lesson plans ranging from topics such as basic budgeting all the way to investments and the stock market. Makers expect to distribute it in roughly 30,000 classrooms and reach 100,000 students by next year.

“Most of the industry is geared around wealthy men aged 45 to 60," Mint founder Aaron Patzer told FastCompany. “But half of Mint users are in their 20s, and we have a huge number of college students and late-teens that are using Mint to manage their finances."

Mint's approach doesn’t work just for teens and Gen Y. Other institutions such as the Doorway to Dreams Fund (D2D) have used the strategy to educate underserved demographics through prize programs and video games that merge entertainment with specific aspects of financial literacy, budgeting, or money management. Callahan has featured the nonprofit organization in a number of blogs and in our 2Q edition of CUSP.

D2D’s executive director and director of innovation both recently took part in the RAND-sponsored Congressional Briefing, “Take Financial Entertainment to Washington,” and shared with lawmakers the important role financial games can play.

Curious about the kind of information RAND highlighted? Check out portions of its presentations here, and be sure to keep an eye open for more from these dynamic companies in the days to come.