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- Playing Animal Crossing translates money lessons into a language I understand well.
- I've learned the importance of planning ahead, and that I'm responsible for my own success.
- I've also learned that no one should expect to get rich quick — in the game or in life.
A couple months ago I got the game Animal Crossing for my family's Nintendo Switch.
Animal Crossing is a social simulation game where you move to an abandoned island and try to rehabilitate it. In Animal Crossing, money plays a big role. You buy and sell things, take out housing loans, and earn money.
Animal Crossing makes me think of personal finance, and I've been able to use the lessons from the game to really think about the finance world and how it works in a way that I understand. As I've progressed in the game and my island has gotten bigger and better, I've noticed three lessons I can use with my money:
1. It's important to plan ahead
It's always really important to have a plan. Sometimes, just winging it without a plan works out, but more often than not it ends in disaster.
In Animal Crossing, if you want to move a house or a building, it costs a lot of extra money. It's best to have a plan so you don't end up in a situation that will cost you money to fix.
Even though I'm 15, I have started a plan to reach financial independence. I want to work hard and plan ahead so I don't end up in a situation where I don't have enough money to live comfortably. I've been reading lots of personal finance books to learn more about finance and spending wisely. I save most of what I earn so that my savings can start growing now.
2. You can't always rely on other people to help you out
Other people are not always reliable, and in Animal Crossing it's no different.
Whenever you want to build a structure such as a bridge or an incline, you have to pay money to build it. It's often very expensive to build these infrastructure items. The other villagers can help donate money, but they never seem to donate enough. Instead, you always end up doing almost all of the work and paying for most of the cost.
Sometimes it's good to work with people, but you can't always rely on them to help you.
3. Earning money is hard work and takes time
We've all heard of "get rich quick" schemes, but 99% of the time, they're just a ploy to get your money. Earning money is never that easy — it almost always takes hard work and lots of time.
In Animal Crossing, you really have to grind the game to earn money. It is much easier than getting money in real life, but it still takes time. From catching bugs and fish to sell to digging up fossils, earning money in Animal Crossing takes time, just like in real life.
One of my favorite ways to earn money in Animal Crossing is by digging up fossils. You can take them to the museum to donate, but if you already have that specific fossil, you can sell it. Fossils usually sell for a decent amount of money, and I like trying to complete my fossil collection.
Just like in Animal Crossing, having a job is hard work.