Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just learning about the stock market, the meme stock phenomenon has taken the investing world by storm. With a tremendous number of users flocking to trading apps, many of today’s investors want not just to make money by investing and improving their skills, but to have some fun, too.
Why Gamifying Is Motivating
If you’re looking to improve your investment strategy, you may want to consider “gamifying” it.
You know that feeling of accomplishment you get when you earn a Peloton badge for hitting a cycling milestone, or you finally cross that task off your to-do list? Reaching goals activates the brain’s reward center, releasing dopamine, a feel-good hormone that motivates us to repeat those activities.
By applying that principle to managing your portfolio, you can train your brain to associate investing wins with pleasure, which may help keep you more actively involved with your investments. “Gamifying” your investment strategy, as well as other money tasks, is one way to keep you motivated and make the process more fun.
Here are some simple tips for upping the fun factor in your investment and money management strategies.
Set up your own rewards system.
Just like Fitbit throws you a small party when you hit your step goal, you can plan “prizes” you’ll reward yourself with when you hit your financial goals.
For example, you probably know that it’s a good idea to have specific goals for your savings by different ages in order to make it to retirement with enough money. If you’re not quite sure where you’d like to be (or you’re yet to start), set a goal and a date you’d like to achieve it by, for instance, your next birthday. Another example would be when your IRA (whether Roth or Traditional) or your 401(k) balance hits a certain number, you have a plan in place for how you’ll celebrate. Maybe you’ll enjoy a meal at a new restaurant, take time off work for a long weekend or have a spa day.
The money in Monopoly isn’t real, but that doesn’t take away the thrill of coming out on top when playing the game.
If you’re new to investing and not quite ready to put your hard-earned dollars on the line just yet, you can learn the ins and outs through a virtual simulation game like Fintropolis. This world for the video game Minecraft utilizes real-world scenarios to introduce and familiarize users to financial concepts around investing, budgeting and credit. You’ll have the opportunity to earn “gold” to purchase homes, explore career choices, and develop a fantasy stock portfolio at the stock exchange. This fictional fun is the perfect way to learn financial lessons in a low-risk environment.
Games are always more fun with friends. Investing doesn’t have to be a solo activity. One opportunity you might consider is setting up an investment club with friends where you can meet to talk about trends, tips and tricks and learn from each other. If you don’t have financially like-minded contacts, check out one of the many online forums and social media platforms where you can digitally connect with a financial community.
Just be mindful of financial peer pressure. Heed mom’s advice and remember that not everything your friends do is a good idea. Always do your own research and skip an investment if it isn’t a good fit for your risk tolerance and investment goals.
Another way to integrate your social life with your finances is to set up challenges with friends and family. Have a big savings goal in mind? Maybe you’re socking away cash for your wedding or looking to start an emergency fund. You might consider finding a friend who has similar goals and making it a contest. Whoever meets their target first takes the other out to lunch.
You can also make the contest about saving, such as seeing who can spend the least in a week or slash their weekly grocery bill by the largest amount. A little friendly competition may be just the motivation you need to stick to your goals.
Play to win.
Managing your money and making smart investments doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. By gamifying your money, you can have fun and — who knows? — maybe even increase your potential at the same time.
Reach your financial goals by investing the way you want.