A Lesson From Monopoly

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

It’s probably not even accurate, but tonight while I was playing a game of Monopoly with my nine-year-old son, Ian, I couldn’t help but notice how the game paralleled life – and how I did not like that.

First off, it was just a really fun night. We call them OK Nights. (One Kid Nights.) It’s been Ian’s turn for a while, but as my prolonged silences here at GregsHead.net demonstrate, there is not much time for, well, anything these days. Not much time, and not much money. Which factored into the decision to do Ian’s OK Night in our basement. (That, and the huge thunderstorms that were wreaking havoc on our entire area tonight…) It all worked out, as Ian loves the game Monopoly (and so do I!) and we shared a nice pot of tea while we played together.

Ian even learned how to find 10% of something tonight. Bonus home school lesson!

But my lesson was in the crazy notion that to make money you have to have money. It’s true in life, and in Monopoly, and vice versa.

Poor Ian had me on the ropes. He had Boardwalk and Park Place with 3 houses on each. I managed to find my piece on Boardwalk shortly following his new construction project, and owed him $1400! That’s a lot for Monopoly! I had to mortgage several properties, and spend all my cash, but I managed to stay in the game. A few lucky rolls, and I had enough cash to stick around long enough for Ian to land on one of my expensive properties. But somehow, that was his undoing.

He also stuck around for a while, but no matter what we tried to do, he just couldn’t dig out of the hole that the first big hotel stay got him into. The problem started to become that in order to pay his debts, he had to get rid of all the stuff that could make him money. So in essence, he was getting rid of any chance he had to win, even though he was still in the game.

I, on the other hand, kept collecting Ian’s money… and then, since my cash stash was growing larger, I invested in more houses. I even bought a mortgaged monopoly from Ian… paid the bank, built houses, and cashed in again on Ian. It was too easy. As I cruised effortlessly around the board (because of my cushy abundance of wealth) Ian fretted every roll of the dice.

It was so crazy to see how it really does “take money to make money.” I really couldn’t believe it. But it was true. Somehow, but a bit of strategy, and admittedly, a bit of luck, I managed to make the first amount of money, and then from there wise investing made the money earn money for me.

Right now my problem seems to be what Ian’s problem was. Debt and other ongoing expenses keep me in a position of not having any vehicles to earn income. If I do, it seems to be just a little, and then it goes right back out to someone else. That’s a frustrating place to be.

So, I have not figured out in the real world how to take the next step to get just enough money to start making money from having money… but maybe some day.

Perhaps I should just play a few more games of Monopoly with Ian? 🙂

One Comment

  1. You should play cool Euro games that have multiple avenues to success and require more strategy than luck and in which you can actually come from behind to win because they’re not a boat race like Monopoly is! 😉

    Ha ha, tongue in cheek of course. But really there are awesome games out there. Settlers of Catan is the classic, and Princes of Florence is my favorite. But I warn you: you can’t play these games and not be a nerd.


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