Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Time for Payback personal finance game, a game by Next Gen Personal Finance

Start the game by applying for colleges. You enter your GPA, your level of extracurricular involvement, and your home state. Based on your answers to these, you may get anywhere from 1-4 acceptance letters. What kind of college will you attend, based on your eligibility - in-state public, out-of-state public, private school, or community college? What will you do during the summer before you start college - will you be a couch potato and take it easy, or will you work and earn money? What will you major in? Will you buy new, buy used, or rent your textbooks? Will you get a nothing-fancy laptop, or do you need one with all the bells and whistles? Will you work while going to school? How will you balance school, family, work, and a social life? Along the way throughout the game, other challenges and decision-making moments will come your way. As with real life, expect the unexpected.

Your ultimate goal is to survive to the end of the game, meaning you graduated college, managed to juggle all your priorities, and found employment with a starting salary that adequately covers all the debt you accumulated during your college years through your various choices and decisions. Will you make it?

This is a very fun (or not-so-fun, depending on your perspective) and educational game, and I'm happy to share it with all of you here. At the very least, fun or not (you decide), it's certainly eye-opening. You'll learn a lot - about yourself, your goals and ambitions, how you arrive at decisions, as well as learning a lot of real-life facts out there when it comes to paying for, and juggling, it all. The game does a great job of explaining the consequences, good and/or not-so-good, of all your decisions, all backed by real data. If you're currently in high school, use this game to your advantage. Time is on your side right now to figure a lot of this stuff out, before you end up in a real-world mess.

Discussion and Reflection Questions, more geared to high school students

Try playing this game twice, back-to-back. Be honest with your current GPA and your current level of extracurricular involvement (clubs, activities, and sports). Briefly compare the two games. Did you make it to the finish line in either game? Did you notice yourself making any changes in the second game compared to how you played the first? Be totally honest with yourself when it comes to these questions, because this is how you'll truly learn - What did you learn about yourself during the games? Would you say you tend to make decisions thoughtfully and carefully, or do you tend to make them more on a whim? Do you tend to choose the easier path, whatever that is, or are you usually one that likes to (or at least willing to) put in more work and sacrifice? When it comes to your purchasing habits, do you usually find yourself needing all the bells and whistles, or do you try to find money-saving options that will still work for you?

Is there anything you'd like to change right now about your current high school journey to increase your chances of success in college and career? If so, what changes do you need to make, starting right now? Put them in SMART goal format with this easy guide, "What are SMART goals?"

After playing this game, what do you want to learn more about? Scholarship opportunities? Career options? Choosing a college major? More personal finance subjects? How can you make this learning possible - what are some resources you can consult, who can you talk to, etc.?

If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy browsing our "Personal finance" category for our full catalog of posts, ideas, tips and strategies, resources, reflections, and more simulation games.

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