Real-life investing is not a game; it’s a strategy to achieve long-term financial goals. But there are many apps and games that allow users to simulate investing experiences, in order to develop useful skills that can be applied to a real trading account.
Classic board games like Monopoly and Life can teach players about the basic concepts of investing, money management, etc. More specifically, a few rounds on a good stock market board game will give students exposure to the stock market.
Stock trading simulators are online programs that mimic the stock market. A stock market simulator allows people to practice trading and test their strategy by playing with virtual money. Investing simulators are also good in a classroom environment for teaching students the ins and outs of trading.
Here are some of the best stock market board games and simulators for beginners that will help you to learn and have fun at the same time.
Stock Market Board Games
Stock Exchange Game – The mission of 8th Kid Games is to make complex topics like stock market investing fun and easy to understand. No prior finance, economics, or heavy math knowledge is needed to have a great time. Think of each trip around the board as a year in your life. Invest with the goal of being able to retire in the end. Early in the game, you might purchase more risky assets with higher returns, then later in the game sell the risky stocks for safer, more stable investments. Strategies to win vary from game to game depending on the other players’ actions and your ability to make the best of your situation. Buy and Sell Stocks, ETFs (Exchange Traded Fund), Bonds, Gold, and more… Learn the impact of BETA, PE ratios, Risk, Diversity, Dividends, Yield, Brokerage Fees, and other basics of the stock market… See how the Stock Market is affected by world events such as by politics, weather, and lots more… The player to successfully retire with the most assets wins! There are three levels of play: Family Friendly, Strategy Level, and Teams. Recommended for ages 10+ to adult / 2-6 players. (FREE lesson plans are available at www.8thkidgames.com)
The Million Dollar Challenge is a board game based on the teachings of legendary commodities trader Larry Williams, which allows players to enter trades using actual market indicators, such as ADX and Percent R. Determine which market you’ll enter by rolling the market die. Markets include gold, T-bonds, wheat, copper, coffee, S&P 500 and more. Wait for the correct entry, place your protective stop, and enter the trade. Watch for changing market conditions. Reach an exit space to determine if your trade is profitable. This fun and popular board game improves the family’s understanding of the many considerations that go into trading the markets.
CASHFLOW was developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. This game is a combination board game and interactive tool to teach about investing and wealth building. So the goal of the game is not just to play, but to sharpen your financial literacy and learn solid money management techniques. This game will teach players the basics of investing, income and expenses, and it even gets into advanced investing techniques. Buy the new edition on Amazon (it comes with an Exclusive Bonus Strategy Guide), or play the Cashflow Classic free online version here.
Stock Market Simulators
The Stock Market Game is the original classic simulator that has been used for years by schools and teachers. This online simulation of global capital markets engages students grades 4-12 in the world of economics, investing and personal finance. When you participate in The Stock Market Game, you are in a real-world situation where you practice the content and skills you’re taught in math, English Language Arts, economics, social studies, and other school subjects. Most importantly, The Stock Market Game will help you develop positive money habits and prepare you for your future. The Teacher Support Center has easy-to-follow instructional guides, suggested lessons, activities, and projects for afterschool and homeschool participants. Though afterschool and homeschool resources are designed specifically for their respective audiences, they may be used interchangeably with each other or with educational materials designed for classroom participants. You can sign up as an individual user and play The Stock Market Game on your own. However, only adults and educators are authorized to register. If you are under 18, ask your teacher, an adult family member, or another trustworthy adult to complete the online registration form. They will receive an ID and password that they can share with you. The Stock Market Game is produced by The SIFMA Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 educational organization dedicated to fostering knowledge of the financial markets since 1977.
Personal Finance Lab is one of the best free stock games, and it is geared to high school students. High schools have had biology and chemistry labs for years. Why don’t they have Personal Finance labs? Not every student will be a biologist or chemist, but EVERY student will need to know how to budget and invest. In the Personal Finance Lab, students take on the role of a young adult managing a budget with their first job. Rent, car loan, utilities, groceries and many unexpected expenses challenge them to stay on budget. Students also learn to manage cash and credit cards. They can trade U.S stocks in real-time, based on daily financial news and current events. Parents and teachers can register an account for each student, and each account will have access to a personal budgeting game, the stock game, 50 personal finance lessons, and 20 stock market lessons. From there you can mix and match games and curriculum, including over 300 lessons in the areas of finance, business, accounting, and economics. Personal Finance Lab even has monthly contests for homeschool students, offering excitement and engagement by competing against other homeschool students from around the country. This platform makes it easy for students to apply concepts covered in class in the real world.
NinjaTrader is a big proponent of educating new investors before they dive into stock trading. Its simulated trading platform carries over all the features of the live trading platform and is completely free to all users. You just need to sign up for an account to begin trading. The research and stock charting tools available are highly interactive. You can pinpoint a location on a stock chart that you’d like to place a stop-loss or limit order and execute trades entirely from the same screen. The backtesting option allows you to roll back the clock and trade during different time periods, too. Replay historical market data tick by tick, fully synchronized across the platform as if it was happening in real time. Want to see how you’d do during the 2008 financial crisis? Simply change the time period and test your strategies.
Investopedia’s Stock Simulator gives players $100,000 in virtual cash to put their trading skills to the test by competing with thousands of other traders. Using real market data, you can build a portfolio and test strategies without taking on any real risk. Investopedia is a great website for learning simple finance, and their stock market simulator reflects their goal of teaching the basics related to stocks, trading, and investing. The Investopedia Stock Simulator is well integrated with the site’s familiar educational content. However, the website has trading awards that distract from the main goal of learning proper finance. The trading awards encourage things such as day-trading, penny stock trading, and buying on margin which may encourage unhealthy investing behaviors.
There is a free stock trading app called Robinhood, which has been accused of trying to lure young people with little or no experience into trading stocks by including features on its platform that resemble gaming apps, such as showering a user’s screen with virtual confetti every time they make a trade. Contrary to perception, stock trading is not the domain of experienced finance professionals only. But we do recommend practicing on one of the many free stock market games first. These allow users to simulate investing experiences before they venture into the risky world of trading real money in the highly competitive stock market. While some free stock market games focus on stock trading only, others offer an array of educational resources.
What is your favorite stock market game?