What Pokémon GO Can Teach You About Personal Finance

by Will Lipovsky · 1 comment

pokemon go
It is the newest craze to hit teens and 20-somethings across the globe. Or, the newest craze to come back from the dead and become popular again as Pokémon was huge in the 1990’s.

Pokémon Go — on the surface — seems like a relatively easy game that passes time with little need for complex thinking. If you look deeper under the surface, however, you can find motifs that can help improve your life and habits… even your finances.

Take, for instance, the pokeballs you can accumulate in the game. You have to go to pokestops in order to get the pokeballs but you only get a certain amount at a time (along with other items). Think of this like a paycheck, in a way. You have to take the ration of pokeballs you receive and budget them out in order to achieve your goal: capturing the Pokémon highest on your wish list.

Pokémon Go also teaches budgeting in another way: by actually capturing the Pokémon. You only have a finite amount of pokeballs to use to catch each Pokemon, which you can see by going into your Items menu. Whether you have a handful or 54 pokeballs, it doesn’t matter; the point is that you need to budget when and on which Pokémon you use your pokeballs, or else you risk going broke and missing your prized Pokémon when they cross your path. The same goes for any funds that you earn in real life. You can’t blow all of your money on one expense, so you must plan for the future. The only difference is that you can go into serious debt if you continue to spend beyond what you actually have in the real world, while Pokemon Go doesn’t allow you to go into the negatives when it comes to the amount of pokeballs in your possession.

Rationing pokeballs also teaches another financial ideal: saving. You want to make sure to save enough pokeballs for when you reach your coveted Pokémon, right? You also have to save your stardust and specific Pokémon candies in order to evolve your Pokémon into fighters. This makes you experience the same self-restraint needed to save money for bigger expenses in real life. If you want to buy a new television or pay for a family trip to the beach, you’ll need to save in order to be able to afford the expense without going into debt.

Saving for a specific Pokémon (or real world item) can also help teach you how to plot a path to get what you want. In Pokémon Go, the goal is to capture Pokémon to evolve and power up into fighters to win against other trainers. Say you want to evolve your Eevee into a Vaporeon but you don’t have enough Eevee candy…and you need a fighter in your corner. You can use the excess Spearow candy you have in order to evolve a Fearow and build up its power.

Similarly, in the real world, you need to develop a strategy in order to make the finances work for you. If you have a windfall of money from a tax return or gift, you need to plan and prioritize what to do with the sum. Should you pay off a medical bill or credit card bill before spending the money on a nice dinner out? (Hint: The answer is yes.) Making your money work for you and your needs requires planning and strategy, just like making your ration of pokeballs work for you.

It may seem silly to compare these motifs from Pokémon Go to real life but they are tried and true methods that can work for your finances. With a little thought, these motifs can help you change your financial views and habits.

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dani August 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Wow, I’m so excited to read your post. A couple of months back I wrote the same topic with a different focus… My post was “How Pokemon Go Affects Personal Finance”. I was so excited about this game and thought that this game may actually give people benefit in term of personal finance. Great post! 🙂

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