4 lessons we can learn from Monopoly

Monopoly has been a family staple around the world for more than 80 years. As well as teaching generation after generation the risk of taking games too seriously, there are also four key financial lessons we can extract from the "fast dealing property trading game".

1. Plan your investments wisely

Knowing where you want to be at the end of the game is vital if you want to succeed. In Monopoly, you want to bankrupt your rivals. That means planning a strategy for taking their cash as quickly as possible, while hanging on to as much money as you can. Your real life goals are naturally slightly different. You might want to retire at 50 and live in a villa, or build a healthy cash pile to pass on to your kids. Whatever your goal is, having a plan to get there is vital.

There's also one extra piece of advice - flashy investments aren't always the best. The cheaper properties and train stations tend to get far more visits per game on average, giving you a higher total rate of return when compared to the expensive blues. When planning your own investments, start by aiming for low, regular returns before taking the plunge into less predictable markets.

2. Budget sensibly

Careful planning is meaningless if you don't manage your money sensibly. If you splurge all of your cash on your first journey around the board, you're vulnerable to others and unable to develop your properties. Conversely, if you sit on a huge cash pile, your rivals will soon amass powerful blocks designed to empty your pockets.

In real life, the same principles apply. Investments, mortgages and loans all help you to achieve your goals, but overstretching can leave you struggling to meet interest payments. The free Money Dashboard budgeting tool makes it easy to stay in control, by collecting all of your account data into one clear, simple interface.

3. Negotiate shrewdly

Monopoly, like life, starts out as a game of luck. But it ends as a game of shrewd negotiation. You might own two-thirds of the board, but if you can't prise that final property from the hands of your rival then you're never going to win.

You might think you're trapped by what your opponents already know about you, but the game offers ways to subvert their expectations. The same principles apply in real life. When negotiating, keep your cards close to your chest, know what you want and always surpass your rival's expectations.

4. Take advantage of opportunities

Of course, nothing goes to plan all the time, so you need to quickly assess opportunities as they arise. If players are approaching your second-choice set, consider a quick trade to take advantage of the potential income. If you can afford to buy a property to block a set, do it.

This lesson is easily spotted in the real world. The recession opened up investment opportunities in property and peer-to-peer lending (more on that here), and with some prior research and quick-thinking, you can take advantage of new developments to reach your own goals.


Posted by Marc Murphy, Marketing Manager at Money Dashboard.

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