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April 08, 2013


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I played monopoly as a kid and I think there are some basic financial lessons in there. Fundamentally there are aspects of resource management and negotiation in the game, which can be applied to many personal finance situations.

We played it all the time when I was growing up and hope to do so with our kids as they get older. I think games like this can be a good way for them to get some hands on, albeit in a game, experience learning basic things like watching what you buy and diversification.

Monopoly was my favorite game growing up, but we had our own set of rules. I don't remember ever needing to negotiate in Monopoly...Just roll, move, buy, pay, and collect. And I was the banker, which was fun.

Incidentally, in real life you can "mortgage" your properties (i.e., cash-out refinance or HELOC) without foregoing rent - it's called leverage.

There are some parallels but in general I don't think Monopoly provides a very good real world comparison.

First of all you purchase everything with cash. In the business world that almost never happens. Only when you are in trouble do you go to mortgage a property (which isn't how mortgages work in business). Once you mortgage a property you lose it's income which is also not what really happens, either.

The subtle message is that cash is good, debt is bad. But how do you actually get cash? Well you start with a pile given to you, then you get some given to you each cycle around the board and you can land on free parking and win a lottery basically. That's how you get cash until you own enough properties to control an entire color and can start putting something on it that actually makes real money which is also odd because that has no parallel in business either. Each asset makes money on its own merits, you don't have to control an entire city block to make money.

It has some cute aspects but its a little too fanciful for my notions. I don't think it does a very good job of representing real life or business.

There is a game that is far better at representing a very real life business situation but it has no market penetration because it's for a niche. It's called "The Farming Game" and its probably pretty clear what it is about.

You start out with a very small amount of money and then you borrow money to purchase land, livestock and grow crops. You have a credit limit and need to make money on your investments to pay off the bank and interest and to gain money to expand your business. You don't make money by busting other players, you simply make money on your business and try to expand it to the point where you are more profitable than the other players. Some investments are cheaper than others but less lucrative as well. There is still chance as you roll dice to see how well your investments paid off and if you over-expanded too quickly in the wrong things you could bust out.

This is what business is really like. I grew up playing monopoly a few times but once we got our hands on this game we never went back to monopoly. Growing up on a farm probably had an impact on that as well, but I found the game far more fun and more instructional on business. The parallels to what I now do in real estate are pretty good. Monopoly, even though it is real estate based, doesn't really have many good parallels.

Monopoly taught me that you should buy every single piece of real estate you possibly can and that luck determines who wins. I don't believe those are great lessons for real life.

In my high school economics class we played Monopoly every Friday. I think you can learn some basic financial lessons from Monopoly for sure!

Monopoly is a very old board game, almost my age which is 78 now. Our family used to play it when I was a young lad. The British version had famous London streets and railway stations etc.

In the modern context it has very little to teach you about buying and owning real estate since the game is not very detailed and one's fortunes depend primarily upon the roll of the dice.

I second the Farming Game - great fun to play, more similar to "real life" (although still oversimplified and random enough to make it fun of course).

I learned to count change by playing Monopoly. I think that's almost a lost art today!

I love Monopoly. I think it’s an awfully fun game with an amazingly fun company. This game has taught me how luck plays an important role and determines who wins. LOL!!!

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