Move over Mario! 3 financial lessons you can learn from video games
If you hate the idea of dealing with your finances, but you love to sit in front of a screen and play games, you can probably relate to these tips. Finance can actually be fun and games, especially when you can learn valuable lessons to level up your bank account through an entertaining app or gaming console.
Of course, there are educational games and financial tools out there as well, but sometimes you just want to relax. So here are three fun video games you might recognize that can actually teach us important money lessons (without even realizing you’re learning along the way).
Pokémon: The power of saving
In Pokémon, just like most other roleplaying games, you’ll need to earn and save money in order to progress through the game. Some items you’ll need later in the game, while other items such as potions make the game a lot easier — especially during the game’s more challenging parts. The currency in Pokémon may be called Pokémon dollars, but there are still lessons to be learned that you can apply to money in the real world.
Savings Tips: Early on in life, you have choices to make. You can spend all your money on the things you enjoy, such as travel and dinner out at restaurants, or you can save some money for long-term goals including buying a home and saving for your children’s education. This is similar to Pokémon, where working hard and earning money early on can unlock some of the best upgrades later in the game. It’s all about prioritizing what’s important to you in life and setting aside enough money on a regular basis to make those dreams one day become a reality.
Animal Crossing: Paying down debt
Animal Crossing introduces the concept of homeownership into video games, and then takes it a step further with mortgages on those properties. In this game, just like it real life, you can buy a home and expand it as time goes on. However, in order to keep your home, you’ll have to make regular payments on your mortgage — and keep your raccoon lender, Tom Nook, happy.
Homeowner Lessons: This game is a lot like real life. Not only do you have to save up a down payment for a property, but you also have to make enough money to keep up with your mortgage payments over time. This means maintaining a steady job and budgeting your money accordingly. By being thrifty with your spending today, it can pay off in the future. Once you have your mortgage paid off, you can focus on other financial goals in life such as saving towards an early retirement or enjoying your money more freely once you’re mortgage-free.
Read related: 10 steps to buying your first home
Monopoly: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
That’s right — with digital Monopoly, you won’t have to worry about missing pieces anymore! But like the original board game we all know, you’re not likely to win at Monopoly if you only own one or two properties — even if you have Boardwalk loaded up with hotels. Instead, the way you become a cash positive player and win this game is by buying many properties throughout the board. With a broader real estate portfolio, it’s more likely that other players will land on your properties and owe you rent.
Diversification Lessons: This same concept can be applied to investing in real life. You may have heard of the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Instead of investing in a single stock, for example, a far better approach is to spread your invested money throughout multiple investments. This could be through your RRSPs and TFSAs that include mutual funds and GICs. Your portfolio can also include real estate, property and other investments. With this strategy, you diversify your money and greatly reduce your risk.
Whether you’re chasing down Pokémon, buying virtual property or collecting fictional rent from your opponents, these games may spark your desire to apply what you’ve learned in the real world. If so, consult with your ACU advisor who can help you choose a strategy that matches your life goals. And when it comes to investments, your advisor can help create a balanced portfolio that reduces risk while offering returns to help your money do more.
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