A game that teaches kids 20 years of investing in 20 minutes
November 16, 2018 11:03 AM   Subscribe

A game that teaches kids 20 years of investing in 20 minutes
High school kids are still learning investing the way I did in the '90s: get a large sum of imaginary money and buy individual stocks for 8-10 weeks. Basically the exact wrong way to learn a lifelong investment strategy. (Not to mention these programs are often sponsored by groups representing the interests of investment brokerages.) We created Stax to take down "the stock market game."

In 20 minutes, it teaches the value of passive investing, a good emergency fund and the importance of diversification.

And it uses actual financial data. Each game session covers a randomized 20-year span between 1980 and 2018.

You can play as group or solo. In either scenario, the computer invests only in index funds, giving a benchmark to see how difficult it is to use stock picking to beat the market.
Role: creative lead
posted by missjenny (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Wobbuffet on November 18, 2018: A game that teaches kids 20 years of investing in 20 minutes

I finished with $360,000 because I am bad at investing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:13 PM on November 16


I finished with 251K buying almost entirely index funds. Thank you dot com crash of the mid 2000s. That's one thing I wasn't sure about when playing - if I should be getting more conservative as I approached the 20 year point. I didn't, I just kept plowing everything into index funds, with a little bit in bonds and savings, which explains why I came up a little short of the computer score. It's a great exercise in teaching the idea that you can't beat the market over a longer time horizon.
posted by COD at 7:18 AM on November 17


This is soooo awesome! Love the functionality - it's so simple but perfectly complex too. I feel like it taught me strategies that it's taken me years to figure out. Great work!
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 12:18 PM on November 17


I enjoyed this! I ploughed 98% of my money into index funds, and just lost out to the computer, obviously. I grew to hate the pop-ups that came up at the same time as I got new money in my pocket because it would delay me investing more in to my index funds.

This is a great way to teach adults about investing, not just kids!
posted by mnfn at 11:10 AM on November 18


Thank you this is wonderful. I'm having all my (now adult) kids play it hoping they'll be better at money management than I've been.
posted by anadem at 7:18 PM on November 18


First time through I found it a bit fast paced and would have appreciated some time for reflection and planning. Investment is a long term strategy not a shoot-em-up.

How easy to parameterise is it? A UK version would be nice to reflect our differing market conditions. I would be delighted to do this.

Will play it though again a bit later on today.
posted by epo at 3:50 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


This is great. Will be trying this with my econ class, if we can work out enough machines.
posted by lownote at 7:59 PM on November 19


This is terrific. I also found the pace a bit fast in the beginning but it was fine after all the investment types were introduced. It was nice to try playing with investments that one might not interact with otherwise.
posted by BeHereNow at 7:39 AM on November 21


Yeah, pace was fast, but I beat the computer by $62,600, which kinda shocked me.
posted by dbmcd at 12:57 PM on December 7


Feedback from my 13-year-old who was eager to try:

- he didn't feel old enough for the game
- he didn't understand each option well enough
- he felt if he could have paused the game at any time the first time through, he would have understood it
- he did not want to play again, but would have if he's been able to pause the first time through

Hope that's useful feedback!
posted by davejay at 11:35 AM on December 9


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