Turning personal finance into a game
A key reason why people fall away from their goals is that they lack motivation. By making an activity competitive, whether against others or one’s self, you can raise motivation and challenge people to push themselves to a personal best.
Mint.com makes managing your personal finances a competition against yourself. It aggregates real-time information from all the financial institutions you use, such as banks and retirement accounts, and then breaks down this information into digestible visuals. Users can also set up features such as budgets, reminders, warnings, and also include assets such as automobiles and real estate.
Where Mint.com has really pushed the idea of innovation is with their Financial Fitness feature. Mint.com has identified five principles for Financial Fitness (know your money, spend less than you earn, use debt wisely, invest your savings, and prepare for the unexpected). Each month, the site measures your Financial Fitness score through your passive and active behavior and awards you points which make up your Financial Fitness Score. For example, if you have a budget set up, Mint.com will automatically award you points if you stay under your monthly budget. However, Mint.com also suggestions more active things you can do such as saving money for retirement each month, checking your credit score regularly, or securing life insurance.
It is no surprise that one of Mint.com’s core values is to “quantify everything”. By introducing the currency of Financial Fitness, Mint.com has successfully turned managing your money into a game based experience that appeals to our competitive nature. The idea of quantifying your financial activity into a Financial Fitness score gives you a baseline for improvement and clearly guides you through what you need to do to improve your score.
If Mint.com can take the seemingly mundane task of managing your finances and transform the experience through game based theories, what other tasks could lend themselves to adopting a competitive approach such as this?