A former Bay Street trader has launched a new career designing games that teach financial literacy to high school and college students.
Meaghan Daly has founded Forward Vision Games, which creates cloud-based financial strategy games geared to teaching concepts such a budgeting, risk management and aspects of personal finance.
'The financial world has changed. Over the last 30 years, the number of financial decisions that people have had to make has gone up dramatically' - Meaghan Daly, Forward Vision Games
The first of the games, The General Store Financial Game, rolled out in some Grade 10 classrooms in Alberta this fall.
In an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange, Daly says she geared the game to aboriginal youth, because many will go on to create their own small businesses.
“This is an area of education that aboriginal young people can lead the country in and that’s a part of our business model and our growth is because aboriginal young people are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population and they also start businesses at a rate five times the rate of the rest of the population,” she said.
Forward Vision Games approaches First Nations communities, schools, colleges and adult education centres, many of them engaged in skills development.
“If we educate those leaders, we’re going to see the biggest social impact in Canada in financial literacy,” Daly said.
Students take part in the game by role-playing, working independently or in teams of two or three. Each team must face 10 challenges that asks them to make new financial choices and they see the repercussions of their own financial decisions play out as they progress. Each of the “challenges” represents a year of time.
“It teaches students how to make a financial decision by actually making them. It allows students to make a decision, then see the repercussions over time,” Daly said.
Learning about consequences
She said students are hesitant for the first few decisions, but gain confidence as they learn to develop “their own financial story.”
The games introduce students to the basics of financial transactions, budgeting, planning, and interest and help develop critical thinking about the consequences of financial decisions.
“They get to see how they have more financial choices as they make better financial decisions,” Daly said.
A more advanced game will be introduced by Forward Vision Games next year, called The Economic Development Game, where students learn business skills such as fiscal management and project planning.
Daly said working as a trader during the 2008 financial crisis helped her see that assessing financial risk is a key 20th century skill all Canadians need to have.
“The financial world has changed. Over the last 30 years, the number of financial decisions that people have had to make has gone up dramatically,” she said.
“The other thing that happened is we had 30 years of falling interest rates. What’s that done is created an issue for people of what they can pay for and what they can afford, it becomes blurred.”