I’ve personally never seen this game show, but recently I saw a parody of it that was done at my church when they were talking about finances. It was actually very interesting how they laid it out and made the correlation and it made a lot of sense. They had a “contestant” come up (he was actually just acting) and he got to pick a case that he thought contained the ultimate prize — which in this case wasn’t a million dollars, but rather “Financial Security.” He picked his case number and talked about how he really wanted Financial Security because he had a family, 2 car payments, a first and second mortgage, a lot of credit card debt and was basically living paycheck to paycheck.
He then picked his first 2 cases to take off the board and in one was a cash vacation and in another was an investment portfolio. At this point he still had the chance to win financial security. Then the banker offered him a deal (to entice him to give up his case which could have held financial security). That deal was a Starbucks a day for 10 years. There are a lot of coffee lovers in our church so this sounded like a wonderful prize, but most people realized it would be a waste and encouraged the “contestant” to not take the deal. He decided not to. He then picked 2 more cases to take off the board and one of these contained a plasma TV and the other an ipod. So he still had financial security on the board and the banker offered him yet another deal. This time it was a $25,000 credit limit from Visa. The contestant’s wife was excited and tried to encourage him to take the deal so they could remodel their kitchen.
As an audience member watching this, I was surprised that anyone would think that is a deal. Right off the bat I realized that a credit limit is an entirely different ball game than cash. In all reality — it doesn’t matter what credit limit you have — what matters is whether you have the money to pay for what you plan to buy. But after some coaxing from his wife, the contestant decided to take the deal (the $25,000 credit limit) because he started rationalizing that the financial security that he wanted might not even be in the case he picked and therefore might not even be possible. So after he decided to take the deal (even though all the audience members were shouting “no deal, no deal!”) they opened up the case he had picked and sure enough, it held the title “Financial Security.” The whole audience moaned in disappointment that he had given up Financial Security for a measly credit limit.
After the whole skit panned out, the pastor offered a few lessons to be learned from what we had just watched. He first pointed out that even though most people were shouting “No deal” to him, many people have made that same deal in the past. It seems so different when you are watching someone else make the decisions and it’s so easy to see clearly when you aren’t being tempted with something, but it’s another thing when you’re in the contestant’s chair.
In the beginning of the game, the contestant was sure that Financial Security was in his case. He was so optimistic and hopeful. But by the end of the game, he began rationalizing and making excuses as to why the Financial Security would be impossible or really hard to get. There are many people in life who start out hopeful and then use setbacks as excuses as to why they can’t achieve their dreams.
The main “take away” point from this episode is that every financial decision you make is a deal or no deal question. Many purchases and decisions may seem like a “deal” when in fact they are a compromise that will keep you from your dream of financial security. So many people have made a bad deal by choosing credit card debt over financial security and now they are paying the price of that. The nice thing about life is that you don’t only have one chance. If you make a “bad deal” you’re not stuck with it forever. It will take some work, but you can eventually get out of it. So next time you go to make a purchase, ask yourself if it is a “deal” or “no deal” for your financial life.
Image courtesy of dacotahsgirl