ING U.S. Introduces Game App that Teaches Investing and Retirement Saving Concepts
ING U.S., a leading financial services provider, announced today a new mobile game app designed to help build investment and retirement planning awareness for consumers of all ages. Available for free on the App StoreSM for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®, the app, called STRUCT®, leverages the power of “gamification” — integrating game elements such as points, levels and a leaderboard — while it simultaneously exposes players to fundamental investing concepts and terms. To learn more, visit http://structgame.com.
The premise of the game is for players to work with various building materials that symbolize different investment categories — steel (cash), wood (bonds) and glass (stocks) — as they build increasingly complex towers or “structs.” Three main characters, called the build crew, correspond to a unique investor style: aggressive, moderate and conservative. A fourth crewmember is a wild card, representing both market opportunity and risk. Through crew selection and game objectives, metaphors about saving and investing are conveyed that parallel the concepts of risk, diversification, goals and achievement. Crew selection, a diversified strategy and material handling are critical to a player’s success.
“We know many individuals need to do more when it comes to preparing for their retirement. Gaining greater awareness about accepted investing and saving principles is a critical part of that process,” said Rick Mason, president of Corporate Markets for ING U.S. Retirement. “ING U.S. is committed to developing effective ways that promote financial literacy and help consumers achieve positive retirement outcomes. By leveraging the popularity of mobile game apps, we believe STRUCT will entertain users while exposing them to important concepts.”
Research shows game apps are the most downloaded items by smartphone owners, and iPhone users are playing games an average of 14.7 hours a month.1 Industry data also suggests that there are more people in the U.S. who meet the definition of active gamers than who save for retirement.2 Feedback from ING U.S.’s own retirement plan customers further showed that a game app like STRUCT would be a fun and unique way to engage employees and heighten their awareness of saving and investing concepts.
“In the retirement market, innovation often occurs when providers and large corporate employers collaborate on ways to make saving easier for their employees. We saw this with the introduction of automated plan features and options, such as auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and target-date funds3,” added Mason. “In developing STRUCT, we worked with several of our large plan customers on the concept of a mobile game. Their insights underscore how technology can be a critical tool to inform, engage and inspire positive savings action.”
Players of STRUCT are introduced to each of the 12 game levels by an instruction guide — who provides tips that challenge the player to work with different building material and crewmembers. Each level brings new complexity, and the right combination of crew, material placement and speed helps the player score points and unlock achievements. There are also surprise moves one can discover as they engage in play — including breakage, bonus points and the ability to discard a crewmember’s building material. The “Build School” brings the metaphors to life, demonstrating how investor style and asset classes can impact the outcome, while the game’s glossary helps to build knowledge of key financial terms.
To learn more, visit http://structgame.com.
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About ING U.S.
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, insurance and investment management operations of Dutch-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.
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1. Nielsen, Play Before Work: Games Most Popular Mobile App Category in U.S., July 6, 2011
2. Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Newzoo
3. The “target date” is the approximate date when an investor plans to start withdrawing their money. When their target date is reached, they may have more or less than the original amount invested. For each target-date portfolio, until the day prior to its target date, the portfolio will seek to provide total returns consistent with an asset allocation targeted for an investor who is retiring in approximately each portfolio’s designated target year. On the target date, the portfolio will seek to provide a combination of total return and stability of principal. There is no guarantee that any investment option will achieve its stated objective. Principal value fluctuates and there is no guarantee of value at any time, including the target date.