The Guardian posted an interesting article that I noticed today (the benefits of reading the Guardian online). The article named ‘Yes we should teach our kids about money, but how exactly escapes me‘, is a very nice piece. It is actually something that the Greek government should take a look at. Zoe Williams gives us the subtitle ‘Pocket money, savings, ponies, Muppets and nails – it’s a minefield, especially when your audience is clueless‘, and here I personally disagree. You see, I think that the question has been given to the wrong people (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jan/12/teach-kids-about-money-pockey-money-savings).
So, any app developers take notice, because this article could make you a millionaire!
The quote “miniature bank accounts are brilliant, but not necessarily educational. I use Osper, which is an account for eight-pluses that comes with a card they can use in a cash machine or on the internet” gives us a first insight into the dangers here. Which Zoe shows with the quote that follows “So far, Osper has taught the big ’un that money, with automating top-ups and nobody ever spending it, accumulates as effortlessly as wet leaves in a drain. It also taught him that getting money out of a cashpoint with his own pin is mind-bendingly exciting“.
The one that got the train (the one in my mind) rolling was the quote “most parents just want children to learn the value of money so that they’re not constantly asking for a pony or a Lear jet“, that is where my train went into a station named ‘creative mode’.
You see, I reckon you looked in the wrong direction. I looked at it from another angle. I saw it as a puzzle, a challenge. What is more challenging than a game? You see, kids (adults too), love playing games, more important, they love WINNING games. This is where we see the first test of getting a solution.
What if there is a game that is based on the economy. I am not talking about monopoly. I am talking in the direction of a new version and an online version of ‘Jones in the fast lane‘. The original was decently brilliant, it was made for PC in 1990 and in that game you had to achieve certain amounts of money, happiness, status, and education. In that game there was still the flaw that you could only proceed when you got money, but what if credit cards, debts and events were added? What if debt became an added visible factor?
The player in young and old, would consider the options lost when money was spent. The player would feel the pinch for the credit card. Not as actual debt, but what if debt was shown as decreased time? If debt makes you lost 3 hours a day, what was left? When you get overly in debt and you see that your time is forgone to work, so you get no happiness and no education, how can you win? You would restart making better selection and increasing the choices that show the danger of debt, the danger of no money.
The game Sierra Entertainment created was already well above standard, but it lived by the standards of the 80’s. Now we see that other elements are a part of daily life, which now gives us that this game, if redone, could be an educational tool that could sell on tablets, PC’s and mobile phones with the greatest of ease for a mere $2-$3. I feel certain that it would go to the hearts of parents by the millions! So whomever creates that educational side in a game (not those RPG life click games), but a decent board game will grow a fan base and game solutions tend to go viral on the internet .
So why did I say ‘not those RPG life click games‘? You see, too many games are about looking cool, looking quick and snappy. Interactive it sounds nice, but the board game that JITFL was had a little more, not enough for today’s elements, but it is a massive step in the right direction. Still, a few additional elements should be considered, yet in that light, I feel that the future ‘millionaire-to-be’ should solve a few puzzles so that they can boast that it was THEIR solution, that is fair, is it not?
So, why is my idea so good? Well, I am not sure that it is, but consider the ‘educational’ solutions out there. Instead of trivialising the smaller parts, why not re-focus on the parts that many do not want people to realise. You see time is money, which means that money is time, so what happens when you suddenly need to do it all with 14.6% less time? It sounds so little, yet over 40 hours, it comes to well over half a day. Even on a daily basis it is 3.5 hours less. So, where to get it from? Your working day? Less money, more debts. A second job, or even a third job? This implies a life without free time. You see, through that path, the original Jones in the fast lane shows to be excellent in its origin and could be near perfect with today’s modern complexities. Especially when the prices for rent and education get adjusted. Internet, mobiles, consoles and laptops, all with a partial benefit and all at a cost. When the younger player starts seeing it as a puzzle, they will see that money is part of a solution and a debt is a long term burden.
the lessons that several players want to trivialise, which gets the young saver an insight that banks claim to be instilling on them, yet at Up to 2.85% p.a. they seem to see the benefit of a little gets a little (especially when debts are 15%+), but in that same light, the consequence of the costs of cards are usually not seen in the beginning. So as they reach the age where they have a job and an income there’s an unbalance, a lack of balance on the impact that debts and overspending has. This is the side that is equally ignored. We cannot blame banks here and parents are usually not equipped to let them feel the impact of it. A game is different, to show them the impact that costs have, they understand that no balance means no spending, but until confronted with debt, the impact of interest is usually not comprehended. A game could be elemental in getting the young savers to feel that impact, in a lack of balance in the game and a sliding lack of time.
It is just an idea, it might not be the best idea, but it is not the response Zoe Williams gave us with ‘how exactly escapes me’, there is no fault here, we all often lack that spark and my spark could go nowhere, but the issue remains, the spark Zoe Williams tried to instil on her readers, how can we teach and give insight to the next generation, because in that regard the latest generation got the short end of a stick that came with no explanation, which is what the next generation needs to be protected from, or we will never be able to tackle our burdening economic problems.