Guide To Leveling Up Finances, Video Game Style

Pivoting My Gaming Experiences Into FI

Is It Really Game Over?

While I’ve recently taken the pledge to cut out gaming from my life, the decision comes from the reality that as I get closer and closer to 40, I feel an overwhelming need to make up for lost time. I did a little math on the hours I’ve spent playing video games, starting from when I was a young boy and would play until the wee hours of the morning while staying at a friends house, to current day, where I would binge, albeit less frequently on a game.

Conservatively speaking, I’ve spent 6,400 hours of my life with a controller in my hand. Based on my low end, conservative math, I’ve spent 266 days of my life playing video games, take out 8 hours a day for sleeping and that racks up to 400 days worth of awake time. 400 days is a more realistic figure because sleep is inevitable and shouldn’t count towards productive time lost. Some might think it’s a considerable amount of time, others will probably shrug it off, knowing that there are others that spend a significantly higher amount of time gaming.

For me, it comes down to time management and long term benefit. I don’t believe I can achieve my goal of financial independence through personal entertainment. I’m not motivated to do anything after playing a video game, I’m simply motivated to complete it and see it through to the end.

The Positive Aspects Of Gaming On My Life

I loved creating and leveling up a character. Games in which I could take a character from virtual nothingness and build them into a world-leading powerhouse in whatever genre they were planted in, always gave me great, but short term, satisfaction.

When I would purchase a video game I would finish it, often to 100% completion. If you’re familiar with modern gaming, you know what this means. I was a trophy hunter and unless it was next to impossible, I would make sure to get it, even if it took multiple attempts or starting over, as frustrating as they might’ve been.

I also enjoyed the social aspect of gaming as well. I enjoyed being challenged by others or working together to achieve a goal. There were some genuinely fun for a moment type interactions that were had. Mrs. Time To FI met a friend years ago in a gaming group that we were in together. They still communicate and send each other Christmas cards and gifts. In fact, as I’m writing this he friend just sent a text, apparently it’s really cold in Illinois today, like twenty below type cold.

The Next Chapter

Here’s a fun way I’m keeping the elements I enjoy about gaming in my work towards financial independence. If you currently game and realize the time just isn’t there to game and build your wealth, perhaps adding the following to your strategy will help with the motivation and fun factor:

Pacman is a great metaphor for gobbling up debt.

Pacman is a great metaphor for gobbling up debt.

Vanquishing The Enemy (Debt, Bad Habits, Mindset)

Before you can truly start this game, you must complete a trial, or a proving ground to show you have the mettle to keep going. For most, this will be the toughest challenge of the game. If you can beat the enemy, which all too often comes down to our own behaviors and the messes we’ve created, then you can step into your financial independence journey with the confidence to know you’ve already overcome the hardest challenges up front.

Leveling Up (Savings, Investments, Wealth)

Leveling up is all about growth. While the leveling up does start at the moment you begin the game, the real fun will begin once you’ve taken out the enemy. This is where continuing personal growth and keeping patient, yet diligent come in to play. This is where you build your skills and fine-tuning your efforts. Here you’ll be tasked with improving your financial security because the goal wasn’t to wipe out debt, it was to increase your net-worth.

The fun little caveat is that this game never really ends. It essentially has infinite levels and relies on you to set the benchmarks.

For example, you’re leveling up may look like this: If you knock one off before the other, simply swap them out. If you check one off, and you slip up, just uncheck it and give it another go. With time being the largest factor against you, the more efficient you are the better. That being said, there are as many restarts as you need,

Time To FI: The Game

Level One: Stop Doing With Money (insert bad habit here)

Level Two: Reach $500 In Savings

Level Three: Pay-Off First Credit Card

Level Four: Pay-Off Second Credit Card

Level Five: Reach $1,000 In Savings…and keep going. You create the levels in this game, be as specific and creative as you want to be.

I personally like to put habits up front, because I believe if you don’t kill a habit, it’ll likely come back and interfere with your goals.

Working With Guild (Community) Resources To Accomplish The Goal

All throughout your quest, it’s critical to gather resources such as community interaction, read authoritative books, etc. (Hint: There are amazing bloggers and financial independence experts you can connect to and learn from and together with) Think of these resources as your guildmates that are there to help you and have your back. They also want to learn from you and your experience because collectively, the stronger you are, the stronger they are, the stronger the entire community is!

Get Those Trophies!

Learning and participating within a community are fantastic ways to stay engaged. I’m certain they increase your chances at fulfilling your goals. A great way to earn those rare and sometimes hard to get trophies, which aren’t necessary to complete the game, is to add them to your leveling list. Here’s the same list from above but with my made up trophy achievements added in, you can add whatever accomplishments that motivate you to go one step further:

Level One: Stop Doing With Money (insert bad habit here)

Level Two: Reach $500 In Savings

  • SocialFIzed - Trophy earned by connecting and Introducing yourself to the FI community

  • FIx It! - Trophy earned by killing a bad financial habit. (can be earned numerous times!)

Level Three: Pay-Off First Credit Card

  • UnFIltered - Trophy earned by starting a blog and letting your voice be heard!

Level Four: Pay-Off Second Credit Card

  • FIbrarian! - Trophy earned for reading three personal finance books.

You can use those trophy examples or create ones that suite and motivate you better! The game keeps going until you reach your goal. Early on, it could very well give you the extra motivation to keep pressing forward!

Also, please remember that a good source of trophy material can be found within the Financial Independence community! It doesn’t hurt to interact!

I hope you enjoyed this fun article! Good luck on your personal journey to FI.

If you have any questions or want to kick around some ideas with me, by all means, feel free to comment below. I will respond as quickly as possible.

Sincerely, Time To FI