What You Can Learn About Personal Finance From The Life Board Game

Want to teach your kids about personal finance? Then pull out the classic board game “Life.” Personal finance blogger Life teaches several practical money lessons including:

* Net worth is how you keep score.
* It pays to get a college education/the career you pick has a big impact on your life.
* College doesn’t always make a difference in your pay.
* Lose your job and you take a big financial hit.
* The more you make, the more you’re taxed.
* Kids are costly.
* Don’t get sued.
* Don’t get into debt.
* It pays to invest.
* Luck has a role in how well you do.
* Consumer spending can kill you.

Alas, the game is not always an accurate reflection of the real world. So I’m also listing lists a few ways the game reinforces some money-related ideas that simply aren’t true. That said, you can always explain to your kids what’s correct and what isn’t. Besides, can you think of a better way to teach financial principles than by playing a game?

Ok, so playing Life is a good way to teach your kids about personal finance. Now, what’s a good way to teach your parents the same thing?
How The Game of Life Teaches Personal Finance [Free Money Finance]



Edit Your Comment

  1. dripdrop says:

    Aww, I just to love playing this game with my grandparents.

  2. dripdrop says:

    USED to love, that is

  3. B says:

    The number one lesson that this game reinforces is how much money we have is a measure of how successful we are, but that’s not really true. Taking a more rewarding but lower paying career, or having kids might be the better choice for some people.

  4. DiegoTheGoat says:

    What about the game Cash Flow 101?

  5. brent_w says:

    @B: Thats why I always preferred the game “Careers” over the game of life.

    At the beginning each player secretly chooses their own goal, (a combination of Money + Happiness + Fame which must add up to 60 points) , that they want to achieve.

    The winner is the first who reaches their goal first.

  6. brent_w says:

    @brent_w: Redundant sentences are redundant …

  7. brent_w says:
  8. kelmeister says:

    “Life” taught me that Simon Le Bon could be my husband, and sometimes he’d let me drive the car. Also, we’d name our kids after the characters in “Little Women.”

    And yes, I eventually learned that “the game is not always an accurate reflection of the real world.”

  9. “The more you make, the more you are taxed”
    Uhm, maybe in Life, but not so much in life.
    Ways this isn’t true:
    #1- payroll taxes (social security, medicaid, etc). They cap at a particular level. If you make more than that (gimme a couple years or a departure from government and I’m there), and you have reduced your real tax rate, as dollars over the cap are only taxed as income.
    #2- Cap gains taxes. When you are really rich, you invest your money rather than work a job for it. Your income dollars, in this case from interest, dividends, and appreciation, are taxed at a much lower rate. And, oh yeah, they don’t have payroll deductions, so it’s an even lower rate.
    #3- Tax Shelters. If you are rich, you have more access to tax shelters.
    #4- Personal corporation. If you are rich and not set up as a corp, you are probably not getting the best tax advice you can get.

    Life is an oversimplification of life.

    PS- I also liked Careers far better than Life.

  10. RulesLawyer says:

    If you have a lot of kids, you can stack them like cordwood in the car, and sell them for money when you retire.

  11. dunehole says:

    I think the most important lesson to be learned from the game of life, is that Life is not fair.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    all i learned from life was how to spin the magic money wheel. worked well for me in the board game. not so well when i blew thru a thousand bucks at the casino.

  13. MrJames says:

    Life taught me that not everybody wins and that two little blue pegs in a car look just as nice two pinks or a pink and a blue. I also liked to put all the little pegs on the spinner and send them flying into the power plant and capitol building monument thing.

  14. I played Life with my cousins when we’d visit for the summer. I always went to college, and they always went with the “career”. I always won, save for when I landed on all the possible children squares. And they always lost. Funny thing is, they ended up not going to college or having careers.

    I do think they should update the game for today’s market, so your non-college “career” is a choice of fast food or call centers.

  15. Rompcat says:

    But you won’t learn that there are actually FUN boardgames being produced nowadays . . . Go check out BoardGameGeek.Com!

  16. WEGGLES90 says:

    I used to make kid pyramids. Hahahah

  17. Mary says:

    There was an older game called Pay Day that was much more accurate and fun to play, I think.

    When playing Life (at least the older version that was around when I was a kid) it _never_ paid to go to college. That was always the worst path to take. It’s a little different now, but still in the end it’s easier not to. The new job system is a lot more fun though.

  18. Marce says:

    I had more fun with the Game of Real Life (Google it). The original Life never taught me much about saving versus spending.