Make Learning About Financial Literacy Fun Through Board Games

couple planning and discussing financials

Money is the root of all evil. Or is it? While we’ve heard stories of people succumbing to its allure, money is merely a resource or a tool used to purchase products, services, or experiences one needs to function. What makes money dangerous is when people bring in their biases and perspectives to something that is supposed to be neutral. Every one of us has developed a particular relationship with money, whether it comes from a place of abundance, shortage, or just right. That becomes the determining factor in how people decide, act, and prioritize specific goals.

Learning financial literacy, then, is a must-have skill for everyone, especially in making smart long-term decisions compared to impulsive short-term actions. Sadly, the road to being wise with money can be tedious and full of technicalities. The corporate world is fond of its jargon, such as credit scores, bullish stocks, or AAA investments. Anyone will be intimidated and dissuaded from increasing their financial know-how if they are bombarded with unfamiliar terms.

One way to get over this roadblock is by using board games to teach about the foundations of increasing wealth and decreasing debt. Games can improve engagement and retention, which increases learning outcomes compared to reading large blocks of text on the internet. Here are some of the best board games that will help people master their finances:

Income and expenses: Payday

Knowing the ins and outs of a budget is the basic step in managing one’s money. Without it, people will not be able to see where their money is going. Payday helps players visualize the significance of budgeting by stimulating the typical inflow and outflow of funds in a given month. They take turns going around the board and try to deal with bills, mortgage payments, unexpected payments, and surprise cash sources until payday comes on the month’s last day. The game ends when a person amasses a sizable amount of wealth or when most are ready to quit.

Payday helps instill the importance of putting in money monthly to a savings account, as well as having an emergency fund for unforeseen expenses. It won’t be a surprise when players find themselves applying for a debit card at their nearest bank after the game.

Investments: Cashflow

chart with calculator, pen and eyeglasses

Cashflow is another game that puts players in the corporate working world. This time the focus is on escaping the rat race and never-ending cycle of paying for one’s debt. Players can do this by understanding the power of investments, which can take the form of properties, stocks, and personal business ventures. The game introduces the notion that relying on a monthly paycheck is not enough to become financially free. Another way is to look for ways where you can get passive income streams, which are sources of funding that generate money without much maintenance or substantial action on your part.

Big Picture View: Catan

The Settlers of Catan game brings players back to a time when bartering goods is the primary mode of currency. Money, as the current world sees it, doesn’t exist yet as the past mainly dealt with managing existing resources such as brick and lumber. What makes Catan a great game to teach financial literacy is its ability to showcase the bigger picture of how an economy lives and grows. A balancing act of competition and cooperation is needed in society for the population to increase their level of resources.

For technical topics like financial literacy, experiential learning is more effective in instilling knowledge and developing skills. The aspects of fun, expression, and experimentation found in board games make people more engaged and involved in the learning process.

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