5 Business Lessons Learned from Monopoly

The board game Monopoly is simply an American classic.  You, your parents, and even your grandparents probably owned this world famous game.  The brilliance of Monopoly is that it gives each player the chance to walk away victorious whether they are 8 or 88 years old.  With a little luck and good financial cents, you have just as good of a chance as everyone else to turn your initial $1,500 of Monopoly money into the ultimate real estate investment.

Now Monopoly is good family fun and all, but it’s also a crash course in business.  Buy too much too fast and you’ll end up having to mortgage properties to pay an unfortunate $100 hospital bill.  Let opportunities pass you the first time, and they may not be there the next time you’re back around on the board.

5 Business Lessons from Monopoly

1. You’ll Never Win if You Don’t Invest

It’s just not possible to win the game of Monopoly if you don’t invest your money.  Sure, you’ll probably last for a while, maybe even half the game.  But as soon as you have to start paying rent, you’ll be out faster than you can spell M-O-N-O-P-O-L-Y.

You don’t need to be an expert to invest in the game; nor do you have to be an expert to invest in real life.  The problem for most people is that they’re unsure, how, where, and how much to invest.

While you’re on your own in the game of Monopoly, you don’t have to feel alone when it comes to investing today.  Investing companies like Betterment have simplified investing by providing visual tools and projections to put you on track to your goals.   But these tools are only useful if you take that initial step to invest.

2. No Such Thing as Free Parking

Landing on Free Parking can be nice, especially if everyone contributes to the pot every round.  But guess what…there’s no free parking in life.  It’s almost sounds like this phrase, There’s no such thing as free lunch.

Someone always pays.  The quicker you can understand this, the quicker you’ll start to see that life is a game full of opportunity costs.  There’s always something that you’re giving up when you choose between opportunities, even when it’s labeled as ‘free.’

3. Community Chest: Be Ready to Pay

Sometimes landing on Community Chest means that you get to advance to GO and collect $200.  Other time you land in jail or have to pay street repairs on every property. 

Life (and Monopoly) is full of surprises.  You can either prepare for them with an emergency fund, or try to scrape together every last dollar you have to pay for life expenses you didn’t expect to see so soon.

4. When Life Deals You Baltic Ave…Build a Hotel

Sometimes the dice just don’t roll your way.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to land the three red spaces – they’re reasonably priced with high payouts.  But sometimes you’re stuck with Baltic and Mediterranean Ave.

It doesn’t do any good to complain about what you’re lacking when you already have the tools you need to succeed at work or in starting your own business.  Nearly every giant company started as a small unknown startup.  Don’t underestimate your potential because you’re starting small.  Use it to your advantage and build your hotel.

5. Take Chances

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Life is full of risks.  You can either run from them or prepare the best you can and try to turn the opportunity into something big.

So what are you waiting for?  It’s your roll.

Which of these ‘lessons’ resonates the most with you?  Leave your comment and ‘like’ us on Facebook and you’ll be entered to win the board game MONOPOLY.

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  • http://www.moneywisepastor.com/345/2012-ministers-tax-guide-zondervan/ Money Wise Pastor

    Great points about Monopoly! #1 resonates with me the most. Nothing happens until something – or someone – moves. Looking back over my life, I waited way too long before I got serious about saving and investing.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance Tim

      I’ve never met someone who regretted saving and investing when they were young..

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  • http://www.thadthoughts.com Thad P

    Excellent post Tim. It may be the best I’ve seen on your blog. Concise. To the point. Easy to grasp.

  • http://www.krantcents.com krantcents

    I love monopoly and a lot of other board games. I enjoyed playing cards with my friends too. I think just about all of lessons are something everyone should learn.

  • http://blog.moneytrail.net Pam at MoneyTrail

    My kids love to play Monopoly and #1 is always the first lesson that they learn. At first, collecting $200 every time you go around the board sounds like a tremendous amount of money. It only takes about 4 or 5 laps before they realize that it won’t work long term!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance Tim

      It’s true! You can’t raise your standard of living without raising your income source…the math just doesn’t work!

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    Excellent article, thanks. Takes me back to my childhood. Even then I was serious about money. :-)

    I particularly liked “When life deals you Baltic Ave., build a hotel”. Charles Dickens wrote a wonderful book, Our Mutual Friend, which is centered around a fortune built on dust collection. (“Dust” was actually garbage, any kind of garbage.) If you can make money out of garbage, what else are you overlooking?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance Tim

      Great reference Charleen! Instead of complaining about the hand you’re dealt, why not see what you can do with it?!

  • http://arborinvestmentplanner.com Ken Faulkenberry

    The most important lesson is # 1 – You Must Invest to Win…a truth more important than ever with near zero interest rates. My favorite lesson is # 4 – When Life Deals you Baltic Ave…build a Hotel. This post will be featured with other interest posts in the next “Self Directed Investing For Retirement Carnival”.


    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance Tim

      Thanks for featuring the article Ken!

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  • http://www.mastertheartofsaving.com Jen @ Master the Art of Saving

    #5 Take Chances—I really need to take more chances, I tend to play it safe all too often. I love the monopoly lessons you shared, it makes it more fun to relate to. :-)

  • http://www.chase-a-dream.com/ Karunesh @ chase-a-dream.com

    Hi Tim,

    I have included this post at my site’s weekly roundup

  • http://ways-to-invest-money.com/ Thomas – Ways to Invest Money

    Free parking is surely one a lot of people don’t fully comprehend. Someone is going to pay, whether its your turn or someone else. I always like #5 taking chances. Too often we are too afraid to do something so we do nothing at all and end up with nothing. Everyone loses at some point but you will never win if you don’t join the game.

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