It’s always fun to get family and friends together for a game night at home. But have you ever considered the money lessons found in some of the games we play? From Scrabble and Chess to the Game of Life, many board games can teach us something about our finances.
The More You Know, the More You’ll Succeed
Scrabble is a game based on vocabulary. You receive a “bank” of letters and then you are challenged to use those letters to create a word on the board and score points. This game is much more rewarding if you already have a large vocabulary and know a lot of words to play. But if you don’t know as many words, you might just have the right letters to spell out a game-winning word, but you won’t know to use those letters and you won’t score the points.
Similar to Scrabble, your success with money will also be based on what you know. It pays off big to have an understanding of how money works and what you can do with your money to become financially secure. If you don’t know how to create a budget, you might struggle to live within your means. But if you take the time to learn a budgeting method that works for you, you can start to save your money or get out of debt.
Have a Strategy with an End Goal in Sight
Chess is a game of strategy where you play against someone to see who can defeat your opponent’s king. If you go into the game with no plan, you may not be able to make it very far without having your pieces killed off and removed. Chess is not a game where you can just “wing it.” The best chess players always use a specific strategy from start to finish to win the game. They have an end goal in mind and they have specific steps they’ll take to make that goal happen.
Just like chess, you can’t simply “wing it” with your finances and make your goals happen. Say you have a goal to buy a house. You will need to come up with a specific strategy in order to make that goal a reality. Your plan could include creating a budget, taking on a side job, or not buying the latest smartphone. Just like each chess player has their own unique strategy to win the game, your personal financial strategy might be very different from the other people around you. The important thing is to understand your financial goals and come up with a strategy to make those goals happen.
Always Prepare for the Unexpected
The Game of Life takes real-life events – like buying a home or having a career – and uses them to create a fun board game. There’s a lot of chance and good luck involved in the game if you want to end up in a mansion with 8 children and no debt. Not everyone will have the same outcome as you and may do better or worse than you during the game. Along the course of the game, you may land on spaces that say your car has been crashed or you have unexpected expenses. These are things you need to think about before they actually happen to you if you plan to win the game. You can do things, like buy insurance, so that if your car does crash, you’re covered and still have a chance at winning the game.
Just like the Game of Life, real life will often present you with challenges that you’re not expecting. And there are things you can do, such as put money into an emergency fund or buy insurance so that you’re ready for those challenges. Unexpected expenses happen often and to everyone. If you have money saved for any emergency expense, you’ll be able to pay it off and not have it affect your financial wellbeing. Preparing for the unexpected allows you to stay out of debt and still be able to afford your regular expenses.
Playing board games and learning from them can actually teach you a lot about money. Whether learning more about finances or preparing for unexpected expenses, the skills these games teach can help you in a game night at home and out in the real world as well.