Teaching kids anything is hard. Teaching kids about money and financial responsibility is extremely hard. However, kids can learn a lot by following and imitating an adult they admire, i.e. a parent. So leading by example is paramount because if parents lacks money management skills, it’s unlikely that their kids will grow up to be financially responsible. One other thing that parents can do is to emphasize importance of financial responsibility to their kids at a very young age. For that, parents can use things like board games or video games to help teach kids about money. Here are couple of my favorites in no particular order:
The most famous game on the list can be played as either Classic Board Game or video game version called Monopoly Collection for Nintendo Wii. Downloads of Monopoly for iPhone and Monopoly for iPad are also available. With the help of Monopoly you can teach kids about money, real estate investment, money management, and relative value of various investments. You can even teach them such advanced concepts as ROI (return on investment) and time value of money by explaining how these concepts apply in-game. Kids will also learn about the value of saving, as overspending blindly on all properties will lead to a sure loss. Since you are allowed to trade properties among players, bargaining and ability to find mutually beneficial solutions will be other important skills that your kids can pick up.
- The Game of Life
Just like Monopoly, The Game of Life can be had as The Game of Life Board Game or as Nintendo Wii video game, which is part of a Hasbro Family Game Night 3. The Game of Life for iPhone and iPad is available as well. While not strictly financial game, per se, The Game of Life will teach kids about tough choices they expect to make in their adult life. Student loans, choice of going back to school, job search, pay raises, financial consequences of getting married and having kids are all part of the game and offer important lessons for the kids. The Game of Life is complicated and might not be as fun for younger kids. However, with proper encouragement from parents, kids can pick up a lot through playing The Game of Life.
- The Sims 2: Best of Business Collection
The Sims 2: Best of Business Collection is the Sims 2 collection of expansion packs that includes the original The Sims 2 Open for Business Expansion Pack, The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff, and The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff. It requires The Sims 2 installed on your computer to play. The expansion pack that I found the most useful is The Sims 2 Open for Business Expansion Pack. Players can start a toy store, a pet store, a restaurant, or even a big box store, such as Wal-Mart. Kids can hire and fire employees and will be responsible for day to day operations of their business. The Sims 2 Open for Business teaches kids about money management, responsibility that comes with running their own business, and pit falls that await them while being their own boss.
- Pay Day
Pay Day, the Board Game has been around since 70′s. The design and some rules have been updated for 21st century, but Pay Day still has that classic 70′s feel to it. In this game players take turns by going through game board. Every round through the board you receive money that you would need to spend on bills, medical expenses, cars loans, etc. There are additional opportunities to make money, say by winning a lottery, as well as to lose money if you make a bad investment. You can take out a loan from the bank by you are charged 10% interest every round (a valuable, if not a bit harsh lesson for the kids). While playing Pay Day, parents can teach kids about money management, loans and interest and value of gainful employment. Also Pay Day emphasizes saving as a way to handle unexpected expenses that come along your path.
So here’s my list of games parents might want to use to teach kids about money, saving, employment and business. To be honest, I did not come up with an idea for the this blog post all by myself. I read a post about teaching kids about money through use of games a while ago. What I did, is to improve on it by including couple of other games (mostly video games) that would help a younger generation relate to this topic. For anybody who’s interested, you can find an original blog post that gave me an inspiration for this article here. If you’re planning to buy some of these games on Amazon, I recommend reading my previous post Where to Look for the Best Amazon Deals, Savings and Coupons to see if can score some deals on these games.