Say what you want about money.
It can’t buy you happiness. It’s important. It’s not important. It’s never enough. One thing’s for certain though: it’s not going away anytime soon.
Money, depending on your perspective, can range from being a wonderful enabler to a dreaded obstacle. For all the value we put on money it is surprising that we spend so little time talking about it.
Read on to see how PlayMoolah, a local social enterprise, makes the sometimes touchy, oft-difficult topic fun and easy to talk about!
Q1: Let’s jump right in. Tell us, what is PlayMoolah?
PlayMoolah is a local initiative that helps young people realize their dreams through developing a positive relationship with money.
Through game shows, interactive talks, bootcamps, edu-games and group meetings, we help young people take control of their money instead of letting their money control them. No fear, no stress, just mindfulness of how money is an intrinsic part of modern life—and maybe more importantly, how best to manage this seemingly-tricky resource.
PlayMoolah aims to champion community wealth, offer meaningful and sustainable alternatives, and help young adults build financial responsibility and resilience.
It uses the power of play to turn an oft-difficult conversation into a lighthearted topic. PlayMoolah helps young people define their own goals & success in their own terms.
Q2: Take us back in time a little. How did PlayMoolah come about?
The seed for PlayMoolah was planted in 2008, during the worst financial crisis of our generation. We questioned the resilience of the financial markets and money as the main measure of wealth. If it can be so easily destroyed (and many lives along with it), surely there has to be another way to build more meaningful and resilient way to build wealth, both on an individual and collective level.”
As youths managing our first paycheck, we realised that we did not know the basics of money management. We thought that if such a solution had existed while we were children, we would be better equipped to handle the daily challenges of money management as young adults. This led to the first game our built—the Moolahverse—an online product for children to learn basic money management through games.
Audrey Tan, co-founder of PlayMoolah, watches a gleeful girl having fun with the Moolahverse
In 2013, WhyMoolah was built. It was a simulation app for young adults to play out their lives in a safe environment and test their decision-making before they do it in the real world. In engaging our user base, we learned that money management skills were not the only thing holding young people back from affording the life of their dreams. It was because money was a topic that is fraught with fear, anxiety and social expectations that led them to inaction. So, if it’s hard to think or even talk about money productively, it’ll be hard to create long-lasting change.
Q3: What’s PlayMoolah up to this year? What’s the latest?
Audrey & Jerry with the scoop—PlayMoolah took home the 2014 Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core prize
2015 is turning out to be a pivotal year for PlayMoolah. Late last year, we won the Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core Competition. It’s an annual, global competition to celebrate young people who are creating new models for sustainable business to help make a difference in communities. This allowed us to access new consumer markets that were previously hard for us to enter as a small company.
During Join Our Core, Jerry said that the good thing about ice cream is that it makes difficult conversations easier. And we found this to be so true! This is exactly what we aim to do: using the power of play in our products and programmes.
In light of that, we are taking our expertise at building online games offline to bring more new programmes to the community. PlayMoolah is known for bridging difficult money conversations using the power of play, and have gained recognition on the digital tools, such as the Moolahverse and WhyMoolah. This year, we’ve taken the leap to bring those digital play experiences to the real world.
Honesty Circles, our community programme, are safe, small gatherings of people who want to build a healthy relationship to money, and these people commit to little habits that align the way they see—and manage—money. We meet once a month to listen, share perspectives, and examine our own relationship with money as a lens for inner transformation. You can find out more about it, join the next gathering or even host your own with the information we provide at http://www.honestycircles.org/.
Honesty Circles in session
And there you have it. Money can and should be your friend! To get a flavour of PlayMoolah—and no, I’m not referring to Ben & Jerry’s Mochabundance—check out their latest Chinese New Year-themed game Yu Sheng Rush now!
Photo credits: PlayMoolah