We all know that games can be fun, even educational. But what about life changing?
Seven Generation Money Management (7G MM) developed by the Center for American Indian Economic Development at Northern Arizona University with support from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation is a hands-on financial literacy game targeted toward Native American youth to increase their money management skills and to give them a basic understanding of investing, opening a bank account, purchasing a car, renting an apartment, buying a house and other life skills.
As of today, CAIED has hosted 68 7G MM workshops/trainings and has had more than 1,600+ participants. Thus, I thought I would share three things I have learned from 7G MM and how it has impacted my life.
The one thing I have seen and also experienced is that life happens. In 7G MM, life also happens. Let’s say you need to buy a refrigerator, the air conditioner goes out and needs to be repaired, or the stove stops working and needs to be replaced. Yep, life happens in the game and in life. All three of these events happened to me within 10 days. At the time I was grateful to have had an emergency fund and it was less of a hindrance to replace and/or repair these items. However, where is my emergency fund now ….
Growing up, I did not know much about the stock market or investments outside of establishing and maintaining a savings account. In the game, participants have an opportunity to make investments. Some make money and some lose money. A couple of years ago we did a family investment project. I met up with my brother, who has been involved in investing for years. He gave my wife, my 11-year-old and me a quick overview and then we were off to play our own investing game. I gave my daughter $100 and told her she could invest it in anything she wanted. She decided on Blue Buffalo. Later that day she was talking to her aunt and her aunt asked her what she did that day. She proudly said, “I bought stocks!” Her aunt replied, “Why did you buy socks?” She looked at her aunt and was very determined. “I bought stocks. I own Blue Buffalo, so whenever you buy dog food, buy Blue Buffalo, because I own part of the company.” Today we buy Blue Buffalo!
In the game participants are challenged to move out, whether to go to school or to experience life. My oldest daughters are now going to college. My wife and I decided to buy a second home that they could live in while going to school. That is where the rest of my emergency fund went (toward the down payment). I have found that this is a forced savings account with the headaches of being a landlord. The first year we had a pipe burst and the whole basement was flooded by a rain storm. Fun times, but the property continues to rise in value.
Finally, your life is going to change and so will your goals. Whether it is going to school, changing a major, to having a family with kids or changing professions, just remember life is a present. Live it!