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May 08, 2013


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While I can appreciate the analogy, I hated Monopoly as a kid and as a parent. It was a long, long game for kids where if you started with four or five, two or three would be out within the hour and the remaining two would be at it for at least another hour. Thus you've got kids who now either have to sit on the sidelines for a longer time than they were playing (fat chance) or go find other things to do (much more likely), which defeats the purpose of everyone playing a game and enjoying it together. It didn't get a lot of repeat play because the kids out early didn't want to do it again, and since you're talking about half the players that usually nixed it.

Monopoly's secret to success is buy, buy, buy everything you can and build on your monopolies and keep a "Get out of Jail Free" card handy. Then financially destroy anyone landing on your outrageously expensive properties. Hardly what you want to teach your children! But it is only a game, kids won't pull life lessons from Candyland or Mousetrap or Pinochle either.

The only thing that is missing in the game of monopoly is the ravaging effects of inflation.


@Mike Hunt,

But if you have hard assets and especially if you have a lot of debt on those assets then inflation is nothing to fear. In fact its the biggest friend you have.

There are many rich farmers who never made any too much money while they were farmer but they bought on their land with borrowed money and while they may have made only moderate progress on paying down the debt, 40 years later it is worth millions many times over, simply because inflation ate away all the debt and now they are rich.

For anyone concerned about inflation, you have to have assets that inflate with it. Inflation is really only a problem for people holding cash or cash based savings (CDs and long term bonds). If you hold hard assets or even stocks, your asset values will eventually rise with inflation even if they lag for a while.

And speaking of farmers.

I know I sound like a broken record here but to getagrip's comment about people being eliminated, get The Farming Game instead. The winner is not determined by elimination but by who amasses the most wealth. You don't buy everything with cash, you borrow money to invest in your business. Its a better game, better lessons, better approximation of reality, and in my opinion, way more fun.

It's true - the only way you can win in monopoly is to buy income producing assets, like real estate. And then build apartments on it. Start small and build up. Farmers die rich but generally live a hard life, and often their children swindle away the inheritance, having no appreciation of what their parents sacrificed. The simple message from monopoly, I think, is buy income producing assets and don't run out of cash. It works in the real world, too.

What's wrong with these transactions.

Buy new home in Silicon Valley for $26,950 in 1963.
Sell home for $90,000 in 1977

Buy new Vacation home at Lake Tahoe for $16,000 in 1968
Sell home for $90,000 in 1979

Buy 5 year old home in Silicon Valley for $107,000 in 1977
Value as of May 2013 $1,250,000

Buy beachfront vacation and rental condo in 1979 for $125,000
Value as of May 2013 $550,000

Of course, timing matters but the losers in my opinion are perpetual renters.

Other benefits of ownership are the tax deductions on homes you live in and the depreciation on rental properties. Admittedly the capital gains are locked up in the properties and have not actually benefited us but the properties will benefit our heirs when they inherit them with a brand new basis. Meanwhile we have no loans and no monthly payments to make which gives you a nice feeling of security as an elderly retiree.

I think it would be funny to add real life scenerios like deadbeat tenants, bed bug infestation,housing inspection failing, property tax increases,being sued in a slip and fall, IRS audit on you depreciation of assets and alike.

But then again who would want to play a game closer to real life.

That is no fun.

In my high school economics class we used to play Monopoly every Friday. I totally think you can learn a lot from Monopoly!


Monopoly has that. It's called the Community Chest and Chance cards. It's entirely random rather than something you can do a good or poor job of managing but it has a flavor of it.

Real life challenges come up but you work through them. As long as you buy income producing assets and hold on to enough cash, and you have the ability to work through life's challenges, you can do well.

With respect to farmers getting loads selling their farms, that all depends on the tried and true real estate mantra, location, location, location. In what I've seen the farmers who clean up are the ones where a developer comes in and buys the farm out in anticipation of rezoning for either commercial or residential development, not someone coming in to continue farming.


I grew up on a farm. I have nearly a dozen cousins that still farm. I married into a family that has farmers. My brother married into a family that has farmers. I know how farming works.

location is irrelevant to real estate values in farming. What is relevant is quality of land with respect to how productive it is for raising crops. Land in the middle of no where in illinois is worth a ton of money. Land in the middle of no where in Montana, not so much.

What you are talking about is someone who has a small little plot of land next to an area that is being developed and turns 40 acres into 4 million. That is rare and is not what is required to farm your whole life and walk away rich.

40 acres is not a farm, its barely a hobby farm. Farms in 21st century have multiple thousands of acres of land being farmed. Most farmers do not have enough money to purchase all the land they need to farm to sustain themselves although some do. But most of them are able to purchase at least a few hundred acres of it My dad is mostly retired from farming. He only managed to purchase 300 acres of land but he did it mostly 45 years ago and some of it 35 years ago. He bought most of it for $200 / acre and the last bit at $1000 per acre.

We were never rich. We didn't have fancy things. We almost always bought used cars and used farm equipment until about the time I was in high school before we had enough money to buy a few things new.

That 300 acres is now worth about $7000-$8000 per acre. That makes his net worth on just the land alone pushing $2.5 million. My brother's father-in law had purchased 600 acres. He borrowed a quarter million over the years to purchase it with very little down. At his death he owed over $400,000 on it, meaning he never paid off a dime and added $150,000 in debt to it. He never made much of anything while he farmed. He had his land custom farmed the last decade and made better doing that than he ever did while he farmed it personally.

He went in debt an extra $150,000 on that land which shows how he never made much progress during his farming years from the operation. But that land is worth about $5000-$6000 per acre today giving a net worth on the land after debt of about $3 million. I know because it had to be appraised for estate tax purposes.

Both my dad's land and my brother's father-in-laws land have zero chance of being developed residential in the next century. They are no where near any cities.

Any farmer who owns any reasonable amount of land for his farming operation over the last 40 years has gotten rich just on the value of the land alone and it has nothing to do with being near a large residential development.

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