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).

Learn from video games

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.

Android | iPhone

Price: Free

Fun financial tips for video games

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.

Android | iPhone

Price: Free

Read related: 10 steps to buying your first home

Monopoly can teach you financial lessons

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.

Android | iPhone

Price: Free

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.

Set up a time with an ACU advisor right from our digital appointment booking system.


About Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Finance Journalist, Money Coach and Speaker, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post and MoneySense. Connect with Sean on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

View all posts ›

Up Next

,

Renting vs. owning: Can you afford to buy a house?

Owning a home seems to be an increasingly distant dream for many young Canadians. A recent survey found that 80% of 18 to 28-year-old urban dwellers were worried they wouldn’t…

Read more ›
discussing finances
,

How to openly and honestly talk about money with family and friends

If you’re like many people, you may have an aversion to discussing finances. Discussing one’s personal finances is taboo for lots of people. Even just thinking about it can be…

Read more ›
Recognition Counts program

ACU celebrates 10 years of Recognition Counts

In 2012, international immigration in Manitoba dipped from the year prior—the first decline in a decade. One local settlement organization warned the drop could dent Manitoba’s labour supply and have…

Read more ›