Reward yourself: How to gamify money management

by iam1percent on August 23, 2012 · 2 comments

Nadia Jones is an education blogger based in Houston, Texas. Through her writing, Nadia hopes to present her readers with accurate and helpful information about the best online degrees available. Besides writing about education at onlinecollege.org, Nadia also enjoys covering topics as varied as personal finance, parenting, traveling, sustainable living, and more. She welcomes comments at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.

How much planning and preparation do you put into wealth management?

Managing your money can be a difficult task. It’s hard enough for many people to restrain themselves from overspending in this consumer-driven economy, not to mention those who struggle with debt, credit card issues, student loans, mortgages, and any other kind of financial burden that complicates saving and wealth management.

People want to save money, sure, but putting a few dollars away in a savings account every month won’t do much to help you grow a nest egg any time soon, nor will it get rid of your credit card bills. But how else is the average person supposed to save their money? It costs an arm and a leg to hire a financial manager, and most people won’t dabble in high risk/ high reward investments.

A new generation of personal financial management has arisen to fulfill the needs of the average consumer. The world of apps has opened the doors to a whole new type of personal financial management where people can control the entirety of their worth, their investments, and their debts from a single device. Brick and mortar banks have fallen by the wayside; now (the apps that run on) tablets and smartphones rule the landscape of personal finance. There are apps that help you build a respectable nest egg for your savings, there are those that help you make smart investment decisions, and there are apps that simply help you monitor your bank account balances.

It’s not enough that these financial planning and management apps help you grow your wealth and pay your bills. No, some of these apps try to energize users into being aggressive about how they manage their money, whether that involves getting rid of debts as quickly as possible or investing in new enterprises. These apps use targeted incentives to encourage users to reach ambitious financial goals, creating an almost competitive atmosphere around the task of wealth management. I’m talking about financial planning apps that employ gamification—a word which means giving game-like qualities to an undertaking.

The phenomenon is explained in vivid detail in an article by U.S. News and World Report. The article explains how app developers in the financial field have “gamified” financial and wealth management apps in order to help people with their finances. Helping someone draw up a budget is one thing, but it’s an entirely different matter to turn that theoretical budget into a realistic goal to be achieved by a certain deadline. The act of gamifying personal finance forces users to challenge themselves to be fiscally responsible in a way that’s much more stimulating than before. Apps like Mint and Debt Free have been wildly successful in how they encourage users to think about their finances in a new light. Financial planning takes on a whole different perspective through gamification: if someone plays to win, wouldn’t they be more likely to succeed?

What’s your take on the gamification of financial management? Let me know!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shape August 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I never really thought about MINT as gamifying money, and I use the app heavily to keep track of my budget. There are no awards or badges attached to say, staying on your set budget.

I like this line of that US News article: “When you play capitalism, somebody ends up with all the money and everybody else is bankrupt,” explains Zichermann.

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