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Can video games increase the financial capability of millions of financially vulnerable Americans? Doorways to Dreams Fund seeks to address this question with its Financial Entertainment (FE) innovation, which leverages the power and popularity of casual video games to engage consumers in a financial education experience that links increases in financial knowledge and confidence to financial actions and real world behavior change. Following the presentation of a 5-step theory of change explicating how casual financial literacy video games can lead to improvements in financial capability, this paper presents and discusses data from FE projects conducted 2009-2012. While more rigorous research is needed, initial analysis suggest that the FE games can be successful at engaging consumers, cultivating financial self-efficacy and financial literacy, and enabling initial real-world financial action. The paper concludes with a discussion of next steps in Financial Entertainment, with a focus on how games can create sustained behavior change and ultimately allow consumers to realize positive outcomes.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Social Security Administration by the Financial Literacy Center.

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