You know that old philosophy all college students seem to live by: Work hard, play hard? Well, we’re big fans of that philosophy. But we also think there should be plenty of emphasis on the “play hard” part because playing hard can be a great way to learn about the ins and outs of saving for retirement.

See, because everyone loves a good game (trust me, I’m the ruler of family game night), we and others in our industry have figured out a few good ways to use games to promote learning about financial outcomes. This should come as no surprise because plenty of people in the social sector use games to teach others. Whether it’s teachers using games to teach advanced concepts or nonprofits using games to promote awareness of the challenges and problems they face.

Let’s talk fun and games in social sector retirement.

Games for Lasting Change

We face a few big challenges in the retirement space on a pretty regular basis. Two of the biggest challenges are educating people about all their retirement options and getting them to change their savings habits. Those two problems, education and behavioral change, are also big obstacles for many social sector organizations. Luckily for all of us, games are a great way to help people through both of those challenges.

As Carolyn Nees writes for an Investment News article,

“The concept of financial wellness takes into account choices and consequences. However, many clients just can’t visualize their future well enough to understand the interplay of these concepts. That’s where gamification exercises and goals-based planning software can help….

Clients like to see the meter that shows how their choices impact their stated retirement goal, based on a number of inputs and assumptions. They like to see the positive impact of a higher savings rate. They don’t like to see the impacts of higher inflation. Clients want to win, meaning improve their chances of a comfortable retirement.”

Through using games to show how current behavior affects future outcomes, we can make the consequences of saving, budgeting and planning for retirement a much more tangible thing.

Dealing the Cards

One of our favorite ways to help get people to understand and take control over their financial life is through a couple of card games we’ve developed. These games help give them a visual, tangible way to see all the facets of their retirement plans, not just the acronyms and fancy words our industry loves to throw around. Plus, isn’t it always cool when you get to spend a few hours playing cards at work?

We’ve had a ton of fun playing these games, especially when we see the light bulb really turn on for our clients when they “get it.”

We’ve also been working to use new technology tools that help add game-like resources to all of our clients’ retirement planning toolboxes. Different adjustable charts, graphs and planning tools are all helping our clients make their road to retirement that much easier to navigate.

Social Sector Fun

For our clients in the social sector and higher education, games have helped us make understanding their unique retirement outcomes and needs much clearer in a fast and fun way. With a group that’s so used to developing and using games themselves, it’s always very cool to be able to reach out to them in the same way. Plus, it’s just one other way I get to have a great time doing what I love to do! If you’re ever interested in joining us for some fun and games, we’d be happy to play!

Ryan Rink is the co-founder and president of Two West Companies, and gets really pumped up about working with the social sector. He’s excited that summer cookout season is upon us once again.