Who would have thought that learning to manage money could be fun, let alone worth making a game out of it?
Well, Milton Bradley, for one. His 1860 invention, “The Game of Life,” a board game that challenges players to go from childhood to retirement, earning as much money (and points) as possible, is so popular that it’s now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
Angel Rich, CEO and founder of edtech startup WealthyLife, has a higher goal in mind than entertainment value. She hopes her new mobile game will help end poverty.
“I want people everywhere to have access to financial literacy,” says Rich, a 15-year veteran of the financial services industry, most recently serving as a global market research analyst for Prudential Financial. She believes educational computer games are the best way to teach socio-economically disadvantaged families and others how to manage their personal finances. So she formed WealthyLife in 2013.
“I decided there needed to be some type of game that allowed people to live out their financial life without the risk of them losing their money,” she says. “This way, once they have the money, they’ll know what to do with it.”
Studies on game-based learning, or gamification, show that well-designed games can motivate learners to engage in challenging tasks, master content, and sharpen critical-thinking skills.
WealthyLife’s first game, CreditStacker, launched in July 2016, is designed to do just that. It takes users from birth to retirement, in 12 interactive modules, to teach players how to use credit wisely, make timely bill payments, and achieve a high credit score.
Following completion of the ETC’s AccelerateBaltimore program in April, the company plans to launch additional games designed to take users further along the financial management continuum, covering everything from savings and budgeting to participating in 401Ks, buying life insurance, and more.
“We want to take a holistic view of finance, in order to educate people and increase their retention of information and make an impact on their future behavior, when it comes to finance,” says Rich. “Our mission is to reduce poverty by providing equal access to quality, easy to understand financial literacy, across the world.”
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