3 Lessons Monopoly Can Teach Us About Finance


monopolyOver the holidays, my family and I played a ton of monopoly. After playing a few times,  I realized something: monopoly can teach us a great deal about finance.

I mean, I think that’s mostly the point of the game, but you can really learn a lot of money lessons in just a short amount of time. I definitely foresee many more holidays with my own children haggling over monopoly properties and strategizing ways to win.

It’s actually quite funny that the way many people play monopoly actually resembles how they handle money in everyday life.

For example, my husband is more prone to taking calculated financial risks (which sometimes pays off) whereas I am much more conservative. I also like to keep how much money I have private and hidden under the table whereas other people like to spread out their cash for all to see. It’s always interesting to play with new people, and when played right, the game can really change at a moment’s notice.

If you’ve never played monopoly or haven’t played in a while, here are some money and life lessons you might learn along the way:

1. Buy Early and Hold

Some people decide to wait too long to buy property in monopoly. Opportunities present themselves early in the game, and those who hang on to their cash and wait too long to invest often lose. The same principles apply in real life. It may feel nice and comfortable to be sitting on a pile of cash, but investing early and wisely will definitely pay off in the end. You don’t want to wait too long to start saving for retirement or let other good investments pass you by. The same applies when it comes to this classic board game.

2. Negotiation is Key

I love negotiating in monopoly. In fact, I’ve been known to negotiate free rent and all sorts of things as I move around the board. Negotiating is a powerful skill to learn, which is why it’s a good idea to play monopoly with your kids. They will learn what it’s like to haggle, pay a little bit more than something is worth if it will pay off in the end, and say no if the deal is no good. Lots of people try to negotiate too early in the game, but I like to wait until a little further in when I have something someone really needs and vice versa.

3. No One Likes a Sore Loser

In life, business, and boardgames, you win some and you lose some. You have to be able to have the skills to learn from mistakes, accept when things are just bad luck, and move on after a bad play. No one wants to play with a sore loser, so interacting with others and practicing keeping a positive attitude is a great life skill to learn.

All in all, board games and other types of strategy games are a great way to learn a little bit about finance, relationships, and life.  Play them early and often with friends and family, and you’ll be surprised at how applicable the skills can be to everyday life.

Do you have a favorite board game?

Photo Credit: Mike Fleming