If you want to teach teens about money, the best way may be to get in their pants.
It’s not as dirty as we make it sound. H&R Block and DoSomething.org just want to know: Would you rather buy used underwear at a thrift store, or go commando?
That was one of the questions from the financial literacy game Would You Rather? It was created by the tax company and a nonprofit whose mission is to help teens and young adults “make the world suck less” through social campaigns and scholarships.
Their research showed teens feel ignorant about money, and that their parents weren’t teaching them much about personal finance. And they figured a silly text-message campaign was less intimidating than financial calculators or publications.
Some of the scenarios from the game are more absurd than others, but all are about finding financial advantage in discomfort or embarrassment. For instance, would you rather…
- Work concessions at the Super Bowl or clean up after a music festival?
- Be Lindsay Lohan’s personal assistant or wash the Dallas Cowboys’ laundry?
- Take a date through the drive-through or pick them up on a Razor scooter?
- Share your spring break hotel room with your entire extended family or not go on spring break?
- Not use a washing machine for a month, or not use a dishwasher for a month?
Questions like these were texted to teens who signed up, and the results are as funny as the questions. For instance, most teens would rather share a bar of soap with 20 people than a toothbrush with their brother. A whopping 78 percent would light their homes with candles rather than only flush the toilet once per day.
The game isn’t just for a quick laugh, though. After players selected an answer, they were given a fortune cookie-esque piece of advice, such as, “Before opening a checking account, seek an account that doesn’t require a minimum balance or charge you for each check written.”
The Would You Rather? game ran from the end of January until earlier this month. More than 100,000 teens participated, DoSomething.org says, and at the very least, they’re getting people talking. Last year, only about 44,000 teens played the game.