For many of us, especially younger folks decades away from retirement, saving for retirement seems like a chore, nothing beneficial and far away. Retirement should accurately be called rewirement. While we work, there are rising living expenses, student loans that need to be paid, kids classes that are ongoing, and credit cards that are coming due for past spending. Saving money for emergencies and especially for retirement seems futile. What’s the point of saving when you can’t touch and use the money when you need it?
What does it mean to gamify your retirement?
Research shows adult brains are more engaged in learning when they are having fun. 75% of learning is lost in 6 days if not applied. What I did was to reward my team with points for applying certain activities after learning. Most activities were geared towards positive points, such as being on camera voluntarily or offering to help. Some items were negative, if the team interrupted each other while speaking or yawned on camera as an example. The team found it a fun way how to respectfully communicate during their Daily Scrum’s. When they got to 500 points, they graduated to the next level and won a small reward. Feedback so far has been positive.
We can apply a similar concept of earning points to savings and retirements. Let’s say you are behind on your savings goals. You could say “For each $100 I save this week, I earn 20 points.” You end up saving $200 this week, earning yourself 40 points. The key is to reward yourself for saving. Those 40 points can be worth $20 in cash, and you can spend it however you please. Next week, repeat the points. You might save $220. That’s 44 points, which is $22 cash. You will be surprised how you find ways to save so you have more money to spend. Find the ratios of points to rewards that motivate you. Convince your friends and family to join, as activities done as a group have a higher chance of follow through.
When you are finished building your savings, start on rewirement. As rewirement is a very long term goal, you may need 40 points to start for every $100 you set aside for rewirement. The actual number doesn’t matter. What matters is getting rewarded for doing the right thing, building good actions and leading to good habits. It’s so simple, so fun, you’ll wonder why those fancy, dull financial advisors never thought of the idea. Choose cash or something physical, rather than something abstract, to make a stronger emotional connection.
Here’s our goal at smilingdad. We’ll take the challenge too. For every $100 we save for rewirement every week, we’ll earn 50 points. And, 50 points will be worth $10. I’ll track our weekly results and present them from time to time on how much we save for rewirement. Game on!
Cheers to your future financial health.
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