This story originally appeared in ReadWrite.
As millennials continue to age, concepts like “adulting” become more nuanced, especially in the areas of finance, budgeting, and technology. Buying your first car or paying your rent on time is no longer a claim that the aging generation can make. Instead, they’re balancing bigger checkbooks that include ballooning mortgage payments and inflated grocery budgets.
There is an army of Gen Zers coming up behind them, as well. Many of these digital natives are just entering adulthood in earnest and are the new “adulting” kids on the block.
Whether it’s middle-aged millennials or newbie Gen Zers, there are tens of millions of Americans who are learning how to budget in the modern world in real-time, not to mention also learning how to integrate those budgeting skills with technology. They’re making mistakes and filling gaps in their financial education through the school of hard knocks, and at times the lessons are painful.
Financial literacy (or lack thereof) is a key area of life and one that many younger adults are unprepared for. It’s also an area where the innovative gamified fintech brand Envie is seeking to make a difference.
The Battle for Financial Literacy in America
Let’s start by stating the obvious. Financial literacy is a major issue, both around the globe and in the U.S.
To be clear, we aren’t talking about financial struggles. Those are par for the course these days, as well. But struggling to pay bills is often circumstantial and can be heavily influenced by external factors.
Financial literacy is the ability of an individual to use the tools, technology, resources, and knowledge available to successfully budget and navigate their finances. In the 21st century, this includes the ability to use fintech tools to improve money management.
Technology should make a person’s budgeting and financial activity easier to master. And yet, the bleak reality is that financial literacy is plummeting.
According to the S&P Global Finlit Survey, one in three adults around the world is financially literate. The issue is as prevalent in more developed areas, like the United States, as anywhere else, too.
In June of 2022, Time magazine reported that only a third of Americans “have a working understanding of interest rates, mortgage rates, and financial risk.” The publication added that the number has fallen 19% in the last ten years and was estimated to cost Americans a bank-draining $415 billion in the year 2020 alone.
CNBC provided a more targeted (and recent) analysis when it reported that a lack of financial literacy cost 38% of adults $500 or more in 2022. 15% of respondents put the number over $10,000 — an 11% increase over 2021.
Envie Is Helping to Fill the Financial Literacy Gap
While financial literacy rates are struggling at the moment, Kiplinger keenly points out that addressing financial literacy alone won’t solve the problem. To successfully navigate the financial ups and downs of life, individuals must also master key tangential battles, such as emotional decision-making and seeing how finances fit into the bigger picture of life.
They must also learn to apply knowledge through the tools that they have available. That’s where Envie comes into the picture. Envie is a fintech app that offers a gamified experience similar to the classic (and once again viral) 100 envelope challenge.
What Is the 100 Envelope Challenge?
The 100 Envelope challenge is a 100-day experience in which participants start by labeling 100 envelopes, one for each day of the next three and a half months.
Starting with Day 1, the individual saves a number of dollars equal to the day that they’re on. Over the course of 100 days, this leads to an impressive $5,050 payout. Even better, for those with intensely competitive spirits, users can repeat the challenge over three times a year, helping a person reach all sorts of financial goals in the process. During that time, they must think ahead, track income and expenses, and more closely consider how they’re spending their money.
The Issue With the Envelope Challenge
The 100-envelope challenge is a powerful way to save cash quickly. It also provides an individual with helpful insights into their financial habits. However, it comes with a couple of clear issues (apart from the difficulty of saving the money itself).
First off, the challenge requires a lot of envelopes and physical logistics. Second, you need to withdraw cash (which, who has that these days?) and store it in very specific amounts in a huge stack of envelopes.
The hassle often makes it hard to remain committed to the challenge — especially in a world where everything has gone the way of digital currency.
Envie Bridges the Gap Between Physical Games and Successful Savings
Envie is a mobile-friendly fintech-powered game that brings the 100-envelope challenge into the digital age. The concept is simple.
Envie uses safe and simple fintech payment tools to connect a person’s bank account to the app. Once set up with a profile, the app allows individuals to engage in money-saving challenges. This starts by setting a goal. This could be to reach the full $5,050 challenge to fund a vacation or something as little as a $350 alternative to cover your kid’s next birthday party. With a total of five challenge levels to choose from, there is something for every saver.
As participants play the game, they can receive rewards for things like saving streaks. 30 days of consistent saving unlocks “the Goldie,” a golden envelope that comes into play during an extended savings streak. When the participant catches the Goldie, they will receive a reward with that day’s savings directly paid out by Envie for 30 or more previous days of continuous cash-hoarding success.
The best part of the Envie system? It’s free to play. This makes it both an accessible and enjoyable way for those who struggle with finances to learn to manage their money more effectively.
Learning Finance Through Gamification
Envie is yet another example of how powerful gamification can be, especially when it’s combined with cutting-edge technology. Combining the two into easy, affordable fintech solutions takes the central benefits of a gamified learning experience and streamlines it into an accessible format.
As the 100-envelope challenge continues to attract fans across social media, Envie is providing the perfect way for modern consumers — especially those who are younger and still learning the basics of finance — to take control of their money in new, exciting, and rewarding ways.