A few months ago I bought the Monopoly game app for my phone and have been playing quite a bit. It’s interesting playing the game as an adult, a real estate investor, and the founder of a Financial Community. Here’s what I’ve learned.

1 – You Have to Play The Game You’re In

Monopoly is a real estate game. You have a zero chance of winning if you never invest and only earn money by collecting Go, Community Chest or Chance. You can’t go rogue and try to argue that there are other ways of building wealth than owning real estate and building hotels because in Monopoly, there’s no alternative wealth building strategies.

As we look at our economy and society, we also have to play the game. We can see the faults in capitalism while also participating. If we spending all our energy on building a new economy, a new set of rules, or a new game, we won’t be able to compete in the current game. In our current economy, there are multiple ways of building wealth but they all involve risk and investment. You don’t have to play all the games but you have to play some…or you’ll be like the Monopoly player that only collects $200 when you go around the board.

2 – You can only win with Risk and Investment

While you’re saving money by not buying property, you have a zero chance of winning if you never invest and only earn money by collecting Go, Community Chest or Chance.

My most successful strategy is collect as much property as possible, focusing on the Railroads and then doing everything I can to get the first color set, and building hotels as quickly as possible. 

I like having the Railroads because if you own all 4 you can earn $200 and they are easy to mortgage if you need to take on more debt. I really like the opportunity with them. 

Then, I will overpay, trade, whatever to get a color-set to then start building and get a hotel as quick as possible. The fully developed properties are where the real money is and it’s those big payouts that bankrupt others (remember, I’m playing a game to win and there can only be one winner in this game). 

Finally, it’s just to keep getting to hotels. I will mortgage many properties to get more money to develop properties. I usually end up with two color sets with hotels on it to win. 

Looking at our current economy, the risk and investment is true too. If our only income is coming from a job and we aren’t using any of that money for investments, we will be working indefinitely. We need to intentionally use our money to get multiple revenue streams (and this could be our retirement accounts which we can’t access now but will be able to in the future). 

3 – You want there to be losers

Ugh, I don’t like this part of the game. But per the rules, there is one winner and three losers. You want to take money from the other players and large amounts of money to bankrupt them.

Thankfully, we’re not playing a zero sum game like Monopoly where there is one winner and everyone else goes bankrupt. You aren’t trying to be the one of my many that wins. We can all win. So let’s play the game while also creating a new game that is more equitable…and fun!

If you do have the Hasbro Monopoly game and want to play, send me a message! And also, come on Thursday, December 14 to Financial Friends Virtual Game Night! We’ll be playing Cash Flow. I haven’t played but I heard it has been lessons and these that I learned from playing Monopoly.