Q&A: Ted Beck, President and CEO, National Endowment for Financial Education

Ted Beck, President and CEO, National Endowment for Financial Education

It is easy to get excited about reaching millions of people—especially the underserved—with a tool as scalable as a game. NEFE CEO Ted Beck weighs in.

TB: We need to pay attention to the potential of games. Many Americans who use technology to achieve certain goals say it helps them. But we should approach gaming solutions in financial education with reasonable expectations. When done badly, games are a waste of resources and turn people off.


Digest: How do games fit into financial education?

TB: They are one part of a larger, longer process of empowering people to manage their finances. They aren’t supposed to carry the whole load for learners. And they shouldn’t be forced into all programs when other solutions might work better.

Digest: Are we expecting too much from games?

TB: Yes, sometimes. It’s similar to financial education—critics expect a couple of classes to solve all our money problems and say financial education has failed when people still make mistakes. We shouldn’t expect a game to be the silver bullet that creates awareness, educates and changes behavior. Games are a high-potential tool that fits into a larger framework.

Digest: How has our community contributed to criticism of games?

TB: We shortchange success when we don’t put enough money into technology development, and when we don’t employ game-making craftsmen. It’s not intentional, of course, but as financial educators we think we can make effective games on a shoestring. Maybe a few can, but most of us can’t and shouldn’t. Games work when they are part of an educational process, but we’re making a fundamental mistake if we think a stand-alone financial education game can compete with the entire consumer entertainment industry.

Digest: And the silver lining?

TB: Every time a new game or technological innovation is released, we should learn what works and what doesn’t. Building on best practices makes us more effective and gets us closer to our goal of financial capability for consumers.

See the full Summer 2015 Digest or download the PDF

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]