Want to Develop Your Kids Financial Brain? Use This Board Game
Thomas J. Henske
October 1, 2015
I wanted to remind everyone about a simple yet very effective financial literacy tool: Monopoly.
There are few better lessons in life than on-the-job training. Monopoly is a great tool to simulate financial lessons. I’d recommend that you wait for a rainy day to pull the popular board game out, but when that day comes, you’ll find tons of excitement for children of all ages.
The financial lessons inherent in the game include:
Math and counting: In our house, there seems to be a lot of competition over who will get to be the banker. A child making change on the fly really hones their math skills. And for younger players, they get practice counting the spaces after each roll.
Budgeting: As a child strategizes their way through the game, they eventually learn that buying every property they land on is typically a quick road to nowhere.
If a player spends his or her time buying up the railroads and building on properties such as Baltic or Mediterranean Avenues, they are usually going to find themselves short of vital funds later in the game.
Additionally, delayed gratification concepts are taught when they wait to “Pass Go” and collect $200 before making that purchase of a house on the property they own, which becomes a strategy they’ll carry with them for life.
Investing: Investing in both property and building on those properties.
Risk/reward: Sometimes it does make sense for a player to stretch themselves financially short-term to potentially reap long-term gains on your investments. Landing on Chance or Community Chest adds to the unknown.
Luck: Cash windfalls from landing on “Free Parking” is a common addition to the rules that some players choose to add. Many a great strategy has been spoiled with that huge pile of money in the middle. It always seems to be that lucky person who lands the perfect roll right before landing on their opposition’s Illinois Avenue with two hotels on it.
Guess what? This is real life. It’s called the lottery and inheritance and we’ll all encounter someone in life who has been blessed with such luck of found riches—they landed on “Free Parking.”
Bankruptcy: A great lesson is learned when a helpless player has run out of cash and has to start selling properties back to the bank just to hang on. We’ve all heard countless stories of people who had to go through this exercise after the Wall Street collapse in 2008 just to be able to make things meet.
There’s no doubt that playing Monopoly can pay off great dividends to developing your child’s financial brain.
You can even make it more interesting if you are going on vacation somewhere, as most destinations have their own version of Monopoly, which would serve as an amazing primer to the historical landmarks of your vacation destination before you take off for your trip. You’ll probably find your family making Monopoly references throughout the trip, too.