Have Fun with Finances: Level-Up Your Finances Using Gamification

Do you like to feel like a winner? Do you enjoy that moment when you come to realize your own awesomeness? It’s when you can’t help but throw your arms up over your head and bask in your own glorious achievement.

It’s a pretty amazing, universal feeling – but we don’t have a word for it.

In the world of gaming, it’s called fiero.

Fiero – essentially a gamer’s high – comes from the Italian word for pride. It refers to a triumphant feeling of victory. It’s known to be a pretty strong emotion and one not often felt in relation to finances. Unless you just won the lottery.

But why not?

Taking steps to improve your financial health doesn’t always bring instant gratification. When you start investing, or putting away for retirement, it could be years until you feel the benefits. We may all know that these actions will pay off in the long term, but it can be difficult for some of us to stay committed day after day. It’s human nature to want reward for our actions. We all want to feel like winners; feel fiero.

Gamification is one way to help make the journey towards financial health a little more rewarding.

Consider gamification as the practice of applying gaming characteristics (such as challenges, rewards, and levels) to any activity. It’s all around us. Have you ever used a fitness tracker to see which of your friends walked the most steps in a day? If competing for a high rank in the leaderboard encouraged you to exercise, that sounds like a successful example of using gamification to achieve fitness goals.

Turning good financial habits into a game is one way to incentivize yourself to stay on track. You can be rewarded for sticking to your goals. Gamification can teach you to feel satisfaction – not only in reaching your long-term goal – but in tackling the small, daily tasks that help get you there. In other words, giving you a whole lot more fiero along the way.

When we experience fiero, or any positive feeling, in relation to our finances – our psychology can change. Positive experiences can open up channels in the brain to improve learning and motivation. So, it’s possible that gamifying your finances could even help you learn better financial habits.

If you’re interested in leveling up your finances with gamification, you have the option of crafting your own game or using one of the several websites or apps already out there. You can consider one of the options below if you’re interested in giving gamification a try.

SaveUp – For saving and paying down debt

This is a free financial management website and mobile app (iOS only) specifically designed to help you build savings and pay down debt through gamification. You’re able to securely link to your student loans, credit card accounts, savings accounts, etc. and earn reward points for each dollar moving in the direction of your financial goals. Once you accumulate reward points, you can experience what the New York Times explains as “the thrill of gambling without the risk”.  You use your earned rewards to play instant-win games for real-life prizes. They offer prizes up to $2,000,000 ranging from cars to vacations.

Contango – For learning the stock market

Contango is a stock market gaming app, which allows you to master investing habits without putting forward real capital. It’s just a game, but the skills and confidence you’ll learn will be real. Think of it as ‘fantasy investing’ – the companies and stock prices are based on the real world, but you’re not investing real funds.

You can earn rewards in the form of ‘bullions’ (hope you like stock market puns!) and redeem these rewards for real-life prizes such as gift cards, movies, and travel. Based on your performance in the app, you’re assigned a level. As you improve your skills and level-up, you unlock more prizes and could be secretly learning investing savvy all the while.

EpicWin – For the real gaming experience

You can also level-up your money habits with an app that is not financially-focused, but allows you to set flexible goals, to-do lists, or personal challenges. Take for example, EpicWin. It’s an iOS-only app that turns achieving your life goals into an amazing RPG experience. (For the non-gamers out there, an RPG is a role-playing game).

With EpicWin, saving 5% of your paycheck or paying off a credit card bill can become an epic quest in a world of fantasy. Completing each quest will develop your character attributes so you can level-up, develop skills, and ultimately move forward in the game to discover untold treasures.

Whether you’re crafting your own game, or using an app, keep in mind that the game should fit your unique goals as well as your personality. We all learn and experience rewards in different ways. If additional incentives or personal challenges add more stress to your finances – maybe gamification isn’t the best fit for you. It should be a fun learning experience!

If you choose to incorporate gamification into your routine, use this as an opportunity to build good financial habits, learn skills, or even change any negative financial experience to a more rewarding, positive experience.

Have you ever tried using gamification to achieve real-life goals? We want to hear about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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