Financial literacy is a critical skill. However, it’s more difficult to understand how money works than ever before.
That’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities to generate wealth. On the contrary, Gen Zers have proven that it’s possible to exercise an entrepreneurial spirit in the 21st century more than ever before.
However, the complexities involved with money management are intimidating. Along with classic concepts like income and expenses, those learning about finances must grasp things like digital currency, credit scores, online banking, and a host of other non-tangible items.
This has led to slumping financial literacy rates …and the creation of GravyStack to combat them through an app designed to future-proof the financial literacy skills of up-and-coming generations.
The State of Financial Literacy in America
Financial literacy is an interesting concept. It isn’t a specific formula or money tool. It’s simply the ability to grasp various financial concepts, but doesn’t necessarily mean one’s behaviors change. Financial competency is the end goal of financial literacy. This is the point at which better financial decisions are actively made.
Financial literacy may be a nuanced concept, but its impact is very real. A survey by the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) found that a lack of financial literacy skills had cost Americans $415 billion in the year 2020 alone. It wasn’t a pandemic-induced phenomenon, either. A couple of years later, CNBC reported that a lack of financial literacy had led to a loss of $10,000 or more for 15% of adults.
The struggle to learn about finances isn’t all bad. On the contrary, the New York Times reported that the pandemic and its unique financial challenges helped stir up a new interest in teaching financial literacy.
A 2021 study by FINRA also found that financial capabilities had grown a bit. However, it added that the growth was uneven. One of the biggest groups on the negative side of the leger? Youth.
Kiplinger adds fuel to the fire, highlighting the fact that a lack of financial education among young Americans is setting them up for poor credit and high debt. The solution suggested? Youth-oriented financial competency platforms. That’s where GravyStack enters the picture.
GravyStack: A Cashflow App for Kids
The team at GravyStack consists of firm believers that good money habits start early. The brand proudly claims to be “the world’s first gamified banking platform for kids and teens.” The creators of the platform have an ambitious mission to create 50 million financially competent kids who are “ready to succeed in the real world.”
With this in mind, the tech team has designed an online platform that automates and gamifies the financial literacy process — and not for young adults, either. We’re talking about six to 18-year-olds.
The app incorporates the entire family. Along with creating a fun and engaging learning environment for maturing children, it helps parents and grandparents stay involved. By removing much of the grunt work, the emphasis can focus more on healthy communication about money.
GravyStack is all about empowering kids to take action and get involved in their own financial future. It encourages children to contribute around the house and collaborate with their other family members to achieve financial goals.
The end result is a financially focused educational platform that can genuinely give kids a step up in the world. GravyStack is a financial competency platform that is future-proofing the younger generation when it comes to the almighty dollar.
How Does GravyStack Work?
GravyStack consists of several different key elements. First and foremost is the primary gaming platform itself. This is a gamified experience that includes a full bank account and a working kids debit card for paying subscriptions. (More on subscription comparisons further down.)
These are safe tools that the GravyStack team takes care to secure. In addition, careful guidelines and appropriately-timed parental approval help children and teens learn how to use these powerful banking and money management tools correctly.
In the platform itself, young users learn about money by practicing concepts as they play through an impressively sophisticated in-game world. This engaging environment encourages the spirit of play that creates genuine learning rather than the rote memorization that traditional educational tools like quizzes encourage.
In other words, the GravyStack Game isn’t just another online financial literacy quiz. It is a complex and engrossing experience consisting of dozens of different gamified environments — with financial lessons and concepts built in at every step. Kids build financial literacy skills through experiencing real-life challenges, failing and trying again.
A Peek Under the Hood of GravyStack
One of the key features of the program is The World of Windfall™. This features a full cast of anthropomorphic creatures …and a child’s own avatar. It’s a world where kids function as “the hero of your financial destiny,” overcoming financial challenges and defeating the villain Greedymon, a cunning and crafty ferret (in a sweet jacket, no less) out to take control of Windfall through terrible financial decision making. In-game currency allows kids to earn additional income that they can use to personalize their avatars, as well.
Underneath this gamified surface, GravyStack operates on what it calls the Three E’s System to replicate the real life economy at home. This ensures that children are learning the value of their actions as they manage expectations, expenses, and extra pay opportunities.
Home Gigs and the Real World Repercussions of GravyStack
Home Gigs™ are parent-generated tasks and make up the “extra pay” part of the GravyStack 3 E’s-driven home economy. These are optional paid work tasks for kids to choose to complete if they want to earn to cover their “expenses,” get some extra spending cash, or even put toward their savings or charitable giving goals (as opposed to required or free chores – “expectations”). The app directly impacts family finances in other ways, too.
For example, the Subscription Hunt and Grocery Game help reduce costs immediately, while the Travel Challenge incorporates children into the nitty-gritty elements of planning a family trip on a budget. The Security Park is even a gamified environment where kids can learn how to make safe and secure financial decisions online.
Teaching Cashflow Lessons
Another key area of the GravyStack experience is the money management side of things. While less story-driven than The World of Windfall, this part of the platform is still gussied up to make many otherwise dull money management concepts engaging and interesting for kids.
For example, the Money Machine™ provides a powerful visual of how an individual distributes their money between savings and spending. Children (with parental help) can distribute funds into Save, Spend and Share Jars with self-descriptive functions. Users can also add extra payments, such as birthday money, into the system for automatic distribution.
Donations and Investing
The Share Jar is one of the most powerful elements of the entire platform. This is a jar specifically designated for giving to charities. The program connects to millions of charities across the United States.
This enables children to proactively give their own money in support of the causes they believe in. This builds a sense of sacrifice and an understanding that though earning money takes effort, this does not excuse selfish or stingy behavior.
The platform is also in the midst of developing an intricate investment side to the GravyStack experience. The goal of this soon-to-be-released element is to teach key investment lessons, such as delayed gratification, risk vs. reward, and what it means to invest in stocks, ETFs, and similar investment vehicles. Kids will even be able to set bigger investment goals, such as saving for a car, college, or career.
A Rich Source of Financial Education
As if the immersive world wasn’t enough, GravyStack also provides a plethora of additional financially focused content. It houses these in multiple formats, including a colorful company blog, the Smart Money Parenting podcast, and the New York Times bestselling book “Value Creation Kid,” which helps teach basic core financial lessons and keeps parents in the loop.
GravyStack Subscriptions and a Confident Savings Guarantee
Of course, a world this immersive and thorough doesn’t appear out of thin air. GravyStack does come on a subscription plan, but a modest one. The mobile game is free to play, while the entire GravyStack Game with its accompanying banking core and debit card is either $7/month for a single user or $17/month for a family plan.
One of the nice things about an app like GravyStack is that you can’t lose money if the concept is working. With that in mind, the brand has even confidently offered a money-back guarantee if new users don’t save $100 in the first 30 days.
While there are qualifiers (such as completing Level 1 in Windfall), the concept is obvious. If people purchase and use the game to teach financial competency, the expense will more than pay for itself.
Using GravyStack to Improve Financial Literacy Skills in Future Generations
Teaching kids healthy financial habits as a part of fun, everyday activities is one of the best ways to improve financial literacy. It is the motivating driver behind GravyStack and clearly is an appealing one. The brand’s message has resonated with countless consumers and businesses alike since its launch.
GravyStack has been featured on various high-profile sites, including Yahoo! and CBS. It even made the list of Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s Most Fundable Companies of 2022, presented by the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy & Entrepreneurship.
As it continues to garner attention, GravyStack is positioning itself as a leader in the fight against financial illiteracy. It’s an important struggle and one that the app is helping to ameliorate by using the power of fun, engaging tech tools designed to quietly foster life-changing lessons.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Cottonbro Studio; Pexels; Thank you.