For generations, Wall Street has endorsed and promoted a particular way kids learn how to invest. But that is about to change. STAX, an immersive online experience created by McKinney in partnership with Next Gen Personal Finance, teaches students an entirely new way to think and learn about investing.

By playing the online game STAX, students learn successful, long-term investing strategies in just 20 minutes of gameplay. It’s a striking departure from the way students have been taught about investing in our classrooms, which has been done predominately by using the Stock Market Game.

In an article in Advisor Perspectives, Allan Roth points out that the game “has been hijacked by the brokerage industry to indoctrinate students into disastrous financial practices.” Roth goes on to point out, “I view the SMG as yet another version of the financial services industry’s game of ‘heads we win; tails we win more.’”

STAX allows students to chart their own investment strategy over a 20-year period and see how their results stack up against other students and the computer (“the market”). As the game unfolds over 20 minutes, students allocate their savings among seven distinct saving and investment choices (savings account, CDs, index funds, stocks, bonds, commodities and gold). They receive just-in-time lessons about each of these assets and some behavioral “nudges” to get them to act. Their convictions will be tested as they experience the volatility of the markets. Will they beat the market? They will have to play it to find out.

“Young people are shying away from investing in the stock market. They think it’s only for rich people, too difficult to understand, or that most people lose money,” said Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance. “STAX will change that by helping students see that the best strategy for investing is often the simplest one. Condensing 20 years of investing into 20 minutes, STAX helps students discover the value of having a simple, long-term strategy rather than being whipsawed by the vagaries of the stock market.”

“It’s crazy to me that kids are still learning about investing the way their parents did,” said McKinney Group Creative Director Jenny Nicholson. “We were excited to bring all our skills to bear on educating them on an issue that can, without exaggeration, impact their entire lives.”