Teaching through text: The new way to learn about saving money

young person texting
More than 36,000 people have played DoSomething.org’s “Would You Rather?” financial literacy game in just one week.
Credit: Colourbox

With only 13 states requiring a personal finance class as part of the high school curriculum, it’s no wonder clueless teens are turning into clueless adults when it comes to money. The nonprofit DoSomething.org is looking to change that, targeting young people ages 13 to 25. The organization recently launched its “Would You Rather?” campaign to educate young adults about personal finance through a game of “Would You Rather?” played through text messaging.

“Three out of four teens feel they don’t know enough about personal finance, and the average college student graduates with over $29,000 in debt,” says Farah Sheikh, the education specialist at DoSomething.org. “On top of that, 30 percent of college graduates are ‘malemployed,’ which means they are working at a job far below their skill level. There’s a serious problem in terms of what [financial] education is available and what is being used.”

To connect with young adults, DoSomething.org partnered with H&R Block to develop its “Would You Rather?” campaign. To play, teens get texted questions such as “Would you rather do the Dallas Cowboys’ laundry for a week or be Lindsay Lohan’s assistant?” or “Would you rather have to walk to school every day or have your mom drop you off and give you a big kiss in front of everyone every day?” After about three or four questions, they are texted a personal finance tip that directly relates to the questions they answered, such as how much money they would save on public transportation a month if they started biking to school.

Users can also play with their friends by entering their friends’ phone numbers on DoSomething.org’s website or texting the organization their friends’ digits. The campaign launched at the beginning of the month, and in the first week more than 36,000 people have played.

“The tips are all relevant to their lives now,” Sheikh says. “We’re not talking about 50 years from now; we’re talking about things that are affecting their lives currently.”

Reaching young people through their preferred method of communication and educating them in a way that isn’t boring have made this campaign a success. For more information, head to www.dosomething.org/wyr.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



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