By Alex Miller, Lead Developer of Banqer

Helping teach kiwi kids about the ins-and-outs of money isn’t something I had pictured myself doing a few years back. Little did I know that at the end of my first year at university, I’d be plunged into a tech role at a FinTech startup, Banqer.

From humble beginnings, Banqer is now one of the largest startups of its kind in New Zealand.

Understanding finance can be tough. For a large chunk of the population, they didn’t have the opportunity to learn basic finance. These skills aren’t necessarily included in the school curriculum, so the responsibility to pass on good financial knowledge falls back on parents. This means more often than not, poor financial skills are passed from generation to generation.

Thankfully there are a number of efforts to break this cycle.

As a kid, I was fortunate to learn the basics of finance from my parents. I was given a small amount of pocket money for doing chores, and was inspired by my father’s small business. However, this was mostly the extent of my experience with finance for quite some time. I still count myself lucky as there are many children out there with much less, or even no financial experience at all.

One of the most important steps to learning finance is practical experience. Kids need an environment which allows them to take chances early on, so that they can avoid making mistakes later-on in life.

Once you’re out of high-school and in the real world, you’re faced with tricky topics such as banking, flatting, budgeting, insurance, KiwiSaver, employment and much more. If they haven’t had the chance to think these through, or give them a go before moving out of home, upskilling is difficult and mistakes can be costly.

At Banqer, we provide a simulated classroom economy, exactly for this purpose, where students are working to save up classroom currency (with a bit of competition while they’re at it!). Through our platform, students are able to learn firsthand the benefits of investment, become familiar with different types of insurance, or compare the best sort of KiwiSaver funds with their classmates.

Teachers become empowered to incentivise positive behaviour with their students, and can even offer employment for responsibility over classroom chores. Through positive reinforcement students become willing to demonstrate positive behaviours themselves. It’s the kind of approach which makes finance - a traditionally boring subject - much more enjoyable for these students.

I’m a tech enthusiast first and foremost, but my time with Banqer has been a blessing in disguise to boost my basic financial knowledge. Maybe I’m not an expert just yet, but I feel much more confident with several core financial concepts. I’m looking forward to seeing many more thousands of students across the country improve their financial know-how!

Find out more about Banqer by visiting our website.