family playing a boardgame

Understanding the Power of Play to Become Rich

Why games are the best way to increase financial IQ

In 1996, my educational board game, CASHFLOW, was submitted to a group of instructors at a prominent university for their feedback. Their verbal reply was, “We do not play games in school and we are not interested in teaching young people about money. They have more important subjects to learn.”

How we really learn

This reply came despite the growing mountain of evidence that we learn best by doing, such as playing games, rather than by listening and reading (lectures and books). As Gabe Zichermann says in his excellent TED Talk, Changing the Game in Education, “Humans are doing machines. We do. That’s our nature…and it turns out there’s a core biological reason why we do, and it’s an amazing little neurotransmitter called dopamine.”

Zichermann talks about how the modern education system is fundamentally opposed to our nature as humans. Asking us to sit down and pay attention does very little for our education, when in reality we learn more by trying, making mistakes, and achieving. Experiencing the chemical benefits of the pleasure we feel when dopamine is released through our achievements helps us remember and learn far more efficiently.

He then goes on to make the case for why gamification is the future of education—including an amazing example of a teacher using Monopoly at a school in California’s Inland Empire to teach kids about money, among other things. The result: a jump of 40 kids in the top rankings of the California Math Test, up from less than 10 at the start of the program.

It’s worth a watch.

Go where you’re wanted

In many cases, it’s the market place, not school, that is filling the void of this need for humans to learn by doing. The market place does it through games - a method that much of the traditional education system ignores.

This provides an insight to an important rule about business: “Don’t go where you’re not wanted.” In other words, it is easier to make money and to effect change where you’re wanted.

The good news is that more and more schools have been using our games as teaching products in their classrooms. However, the best news is that the public likes our products. Our board games sell well to private individuals—as well as to community organizations, churches, and youth programs. These are people who want to improve financial education for themselves and their members, and look to sources outside traditional schools to learn.

We knew we had come full circle when Thunderbird School of Global Management utilizedRich Dad Poor Dad, CASHFLOW Quadrant, and the CASHFLOW games in its curriculum for their entrepreneurship program. The very prestigious university is internationally recognized for its educational programs.

Start playing around more

We’ve become committed to the power of games to change people’s financial lives. We spent a lot of time and resources to make CASHFLOW into a digital online game that anyone can play for free.

But we didn’t stop there. At Rich Dad, we’re creating a host of educational apps and games that help you—and your kids—understand how money works and how it can work for you.

Want to grow your and your family’s financial IQ? Start playing more games today.

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