Dec 10, 2012
Most American families are not saving enough money for the future and are carrying too much debt. Of those families, the most vulnerable are those that earn the least. While financial education can help these households improve their prospects, it is difficult to reach them through traditional programs. The typical approach to this problem has been to focus on the supply side: that is, to increase the availability of financial education programs. A promising new approach is to focus instead on the demand side by increasing the appetite for financial education. To this end, the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D), with support from RAND's Financial Literacy Center, developed and disseminated a series of social videogames that immerse players in the roles of business owners or financial advisors who must learn quickly how to make smart financial decisions or face bankruptcy. This concept, which D2D calls Financial Entertainment, is aimed at imparting basic principles of financial management, including avoiding fees, minimizing debt, managing consumption, and maximizing savings, without the use of traditional instruction. This brief presents an overview of Financial Entertainment as well as the preliminary findings of research conducted on the design, marketing strategies, and planned advancements for D2D's videogames reported in the working paper, Can Games Build Financial Capability?