Managing Money

6 Fun Games That Teach Kids How to Invest

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Online and physical games that help kids learn about investing and finance.

Introducing your child to the world of investing is a great way to strengthen their financial literacy. And what better way to do it than with a fun, interactive game?

If you want to teach your child basic investing and financial principles while keeping them engaged and having a good time, check out these six investing games.

1. Juni

Juni is an online academy that offers real-time learning, a project-based curriculum and one-on-one mentorship with instructors from some of the top universities in the US. Students have access to a community of peers, and instructors provide progress reports and class notes for parents after each class.

  • Price. Plans range from $140 to $450 per month
  • Age range. 9 to 18
  • Learning goal. Understand how to make investment decisions and develop an investment strategy.

Juni offers one investing course as of November 2021. The course, titled “Money Minded: Introduction to the Stock Market,” gives students $100,000 in mock money to use in a virtual stock market simulation. Students pick and choose investments as they progress through a course designed to help them understand how to make investment decisions.

The curriculum is project-based and is designed to help students explore investing concepts like understanding different types of investments, assessing a company’s potential success and recognizing the impact of risk tolerance on investment portfolios.

Students complete a final project to finish the course, where they come up with a creative pitch of their investment strategy and present it to their parents, guardians or family members about why they should lend the student money to start their own brokerage account.

If you’re looking for one of the most structured ways to teach your kid about investing and price isn’t an issue, Juni might be your best option.

2. The Stock Market Game

The Stock Market Game is a program offered by the SIFMA Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that supports 4th- through 12th-grade teachers throughout the US with financial education programs and tools.

The game isn’t limited to in-school use, though. Students can use the program individually, but they need a parent, guardian or adult family member to register for an account.

  • Price. Varies by state but is typically low-cost or free
  • Age range. Grades 4 to 12
  • Learning goal. Prepare students for financial independence by understanding the world of economics, investing and personal finance.

The Stock Market Game is another online stock market for kids that introduces students to saving and investing. Students trade and manage their own portfolios of $100,000 in virtual money and are provided with lesson plans, projects and ongoing support.

Students also have access to a mobile app that allows them to monitor their portfolios and enter trades on the go. Beyond the Stock Market Game, students can also participate in InvestWrite, SIFMA’s national essay competition, and SIFMA’s Capitol Hill Challenge, an invitation-only national Stock Market Game competition.

3. How the Market Works

How the Market Works is a free online stock market game owned and operated by Stock-Trak Inc, a provider of educational stock market games and contests. Stock-Trak Inc’s other sites include Wall Street Survivor, Personal Finance Lab and Stock Trak.

  • Price. Free
  • Age range. Grades K to 12
  • Learning goal. Practice investing before using real money.

Students receive $100,000 in virtual money to trade stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds with real-time prices. How the Market Works highlights its custom contest feature, which allows users to create custom trading contests with specific portfolio rules, starting cash amounts and trading dates.

While it’s open to individual use, its stock market contest feature makes it ideal for classroom settings or where friends or family members can participate. You’ll also find an education center with tutorial videos and lessons on the stock market, economics and personal finance.

4. Build Your Stax

Build Your Stax is an online investing game designed for both individuals and groups. This game is a bit different from the others on this list because of its quick pace of play. For this reason, it’s probably best suited for children old enough to make quick decisions and efficiently use a computer.

  • Price. Free
  • Age range. Any age
  • Learning goal. Learn how to choose and manage investments over time.

Build Your Stax is a fast-paced, online investing game that gives players 20 years — or 20 minutes in real time — to save and invest to make as much money as possible. Each year lasts one minute in real time, and every six months (30 seconds), players are given $4,000 to allocate to their choice of savings and investments.

As players progress through the game, they unlock new investment opportunities to invest their money. The game starts with a basic savings account, and players gradually unlock certificates of deposit (CDs), index funds, individual stocks, government bonds, crop commodities and gold as time progresses.

Players also face random life events throughout the game, which can include a $7,000 wedding payment or stumbling upon $500 on the street. If you’re hit with a bill and don’t have the pocket cash to pay it, you have to choose which investment to liquidate to free up the cash.

At the end of the game, you’re given a report of how much money you made over 20 years, your yearly growth rate and how much you spent on life events.

5. The Stock Exchange Game

The Stock Exchange Game takes learning about investing offline and is delivered in the form of a board game reminiscent of Monopoly. The game requires at least two people to play, and up to six people can play at a time.

  • Price. $49.99
  • Age range. 10 years and older
  • Learning goal. Learn the risks and rewards of investing as you save to retire.

With The Stock Exchange Game, each trip around the board represents a year in your life and your goal is to invest for a wealthy retirement. Similar to many board games, each player chooses a token and takes turns rolling the dice as they progress through the two phases of the game.

In the first phase, players go around the perimeter of the board buying and selling stocks, bonds and gold to acquire enough wealth to retire. If the player feels they are in a position to retire, they have to cross diagonally across the board to reach the retirement space.

Players have to follow the prompts on each tile they land on, which include paying a $15,000 charitable donation, an IRS audit that takes a quarter of your cash and a $35,000 medical crisis. Land on the “World Events” or “Stock Alerts” tiles and you’ll need to draw a card that lays out a new situation to the game.

6. Financial Football

Financial Football is an online and app-based game presented by Visa and the National Football League (NFL) designed to help teach students financial concepts through a fast-paced, interactive game.

  • Price. Free
  • Age range. 11 years and older
  • Learning goal. Learn financial concepts and money management skills.

Financial Football can be played individually or head-to-head with an opposing player. Players choose their favorite NFL teams and their desired game length and difficulty level.

While players don’t actually control the players on the field, they control the outcome of the play by answering questions related to finance. Correct answers result in a successful play, and incorrect answers have a negative impact on the team.

Players answer questions from the following seven financial categories and are up against a time clock to select an answer:

  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Financial institutions
  • Credit
  • Debt
  • Identify theft
  • Life events

At the end of the game, it breaks down your total questions, number and percentage of correct answers, longest correct streak, powerups unlocked and your best category. These results can be saved for future reference and with a teacher if played in a classroom setting. Players will also find separate lesson modules to learn key concepts about saving and spending, budgeting and the proper use of credit.

How to open a custodial account

If you want to get your child started investing for real, you can do so by opening a custodial account. These are financial accounts set up and managed by adults for the benefit of a child. Here’s how to set up a custodial account:

  1. Choose an account. Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts are designed for children without taxable income, whereas custodial IRAs are designed for children who do earn taxable income.
  2. Decide on a broker. Compare brokers by fees, minimum deposit requirements and reputation.
  3. Pick investments. Put all that practice to use and have your kid help you choose their investments. Investment options might vary by broker, so make sure to select a broker that provides the investment options you’re looking for.

Bottom line

Investing is a long-term game, and it’s never too early for children to start learning. Equipping children with the tools and knowledge of investing at an early age will give them a leg up when they get older and take on their own financial responsibilities. And these games provide a fun, engaging way to approach the topic of investing and financial literacy.

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