Jul 26, 2022

Interactive: Balancing Profit with Purpose with the FT's The Trade-off Game

Can you lead an organization and balance profit with purpose. Play The Trade-off Game and find out! 

With more and more focus on ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing as well as proclamations from CEOs of the Business Roundtable that businesses should look beyond shareholder value to creating value for other stakeholders (employees, communities, suppliers), this game from the Financial Times is particularly timely. Hat tip to Brian Page for sharing this! 

In terms of where it fits in a personal finance or business curriculum, I think your aspiring entrepreneurs who are socially minded will find this to be a thought-provoking game. 

It's called Trade-Off and as the name suggests, the game player, who is leading a company, makes decisions to balance priorities across 4 categories (growth, environment, social responsibility and long-term development):

Meanwhile, as the business leader you have to please your investors and other stakeholders to stay in business. These two groups react to your decisions. If investors or stakeholders get too fed up, then the goodwill with these groups will evaporate quickly and you lose. It is truly a balancing act with the goal of helping students realize how challenging it can be to balance profit with purpose. Multiple plays will allow students to learn how to manage these priorities to please their investors/stakeholders while staying true to themselves. 

Questions for your students:

  • How did you allocate the 10 resources when you initially started the game? What was the reasoning behind this decision? 
  • What was the most difficult decision you had to make through the course of the game?
  • What did investors seem to be most focused on? How about other stakeholders? 
  • Many entrepreneurs start businesses with a social purpose. What's one piece of advice you might give to such an entrepreneur? 


Did you know NGPF has an Interactive Library, interactive resources shared in the blog and an arcade of 10 engaging games (played 7 million+ times?


Sign up for NGPF Certification courses and earn up to 10 Academy Credits. Every 10 credits = more NGPF Swag. 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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