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Successful Financial Literacy Program Now Accessible to Teens, Educators Through Free Online Game

After 13 years of partnering to successfully teach teens financial literacy skills, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Charles Schwab Foundation have announced the release of a free online game that both teens and teachers can play any place, any time to access financial literacy content.

Called $ky, the game is specifically part of Money Matters: Make it Count, the name for the partnership between the BGCA and the Charles Schwab Foundation.

According to a joint release from the two partners, in $ky "players navigate financial decisions and are rewarded for managing cash and credit wisely, adding a fun new way to learn these important life lessons to an already successful financial education curriculum."

Overall, the game's financial literacy lessons are "modeled on a variety of recognized financial education standards and designed to incorporate learning into the teen's casual gaming experience."

As players navigate through the three phrases teen, young adult and adult, they must define their life-long goals and make a series of choices that will ultimately affect their end-goal of reaching retirement. Smart decisions made during the game lead to a comfortable retirement for the player's virtual character, while poor decisions mean the player must recognize that their retirement is limited to cash-on-hand. 

At the end of the game, players are able to review the financial choices they made to see exactly how they ended up in the retirement situation they did.

While the game is designed to be used in the national network of Boys & Girls clubs, $ky is free to access online and therefore available for any educator to introduce into their classroom or any teen to try out at home. Given that only a handful of states require students to master financial literacy skills before leaving the K-12 school system, financial literacy is often a topic that students must learn how to navigate the hard way—long after graduation. As a result, countless surveys have revealed that a majority of U.S. adults have a difficult time understanding basic financial principles—not to mention are likely to be in debt.

[Read: Help! Majority of Americans Fail Another Basic Financial Literacy Test] 

"The introduction of the $ky digital game extends that offering beyond the walls of the Clubs to empower all teens to gain the crucial money management skills they need to help them achieve great futures," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA in a prepared statement.

For educator's interested in introducing the game into their classroom, Money Matters offers a Facilitator's Guide that includes tips for optimal gameplay, defines financial objectives teens can expect to learn and overall explains the game's features to a new user.

Start playing $ky here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

1/9/2017

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