Money Lessons Learned from Board Games

monopoly park

If you’ve been reading my work for SavingAdvice for any length of time, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of board games. I love them for the time they let me spend with my family and for the value they give me for my money. Plus, they’re just plain fun. Over the years, I’ve realized that playing games teaches many lessons that can be applied to personal finance. There are many games such as LIFE, Monopoly, PayDay, Acquire, and Careers where work and money are the main features of the games. But even games that aren’t about money often teach lessons that can be applied to personal finance. Here are some of the lessons my board game collection has taught m


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3 Responses to Money Lessons Learned from Board Games

  1. Paul Owen says:

    I agree with much of what you say, but I would caution about taking the lesson too far.

    I used to play a 3M game called “Stocks and Bonds.” When playing with more than just a couple of other players, the only way to have a chance at winning was to buy a lot of speculative stocks, like shares in an oil-drilling company. There was a fair chance that you would go bust, but there was also a decent chance of hitting it big and out-earning all your competitors. Conservative play would give solid returns, but not at game-winning levels. If three of your opponents speculate on oil and one of them hits it big, they win and you lose, no matter how “smart” your conservative investments are. The point is that in a multi-player game, there is only one winner, and that is typically the one who gambled big and had it pay off.

    But in real life, I’m not competing with other people to earn the most; I am trying to achieve financial security through independent wealth. Generally speaking, aggressive speculation is not the way to do that (except as part of a diverse portfolio). So whereas some games reward big risk-taking, the objective in games is different from the objectives in personal finances; so the game-lesson doesn’t necessarily apply.

    Thanks for a fascinating column.

  2. Julie says:

    I have agreed with most of your posts in the past, but I get bored playing board games.

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