Personal Finance

How Board Games Can Help You Manage Your Money

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Board games are not all fun and – well, games. It turns out this popular pastime can help teach valuable financial lessons. From dice and play money to credit cards and ledgers, board games can educate both kids and adults on basic personal finance in an easy and fun way. While many of the best money management board games have been popular for decades, continual revisions keep them relevant to prepare players for today’s financial world. From Monopoly, Life and Payday to the less obviously practical, check out what skills you can learn, develop and master at this week’s game night.

1. Doing Business Math & Managing Transactions

Even calculating scores and adding up fake bills can be a good way to keep your brain fresh when it comes to math. Several games require payouts, splits and even life-inspired purchases like whether it makes sense to go to college, purchase a car or a buy home. The mathematical and practical benefits of money management board games can pay off big time in the long run. This can be especially helpful during the summer to keep kids learning and sharp even when outside of school.

2. The Basics of Investing

Landing on a property early or claiming a tile many people will build on can be the difference between winning and losing in many classic board games like Monopoly. This lesson of planting a seed and watching it grow into money or points can help teach why making investments are a good option to supplement other income.

3. Making Decisions & Budgeting 101

One of the fundamentals of most board games is strategic decision making. Just as you may wait to play a certain card or jump to acquire a certain item, with finances it’s important to strategize, plan and then execute. If you use your money to buy a hotel on one space, you forgo building it on another. Being smart about budgeting and taking calculated risk can teach lifelong financial lessons.

4. Emergency Funding

Ever save cards or skip a play you know you can make in case you’re in trouble later? This strategy is just like building an emergency fund – one of the most important aspects of a fiscally savvy individual. Your emergency fund can be like a “get out of jail free” card.

5. The Real Cost of Taxes, Debt & Overspending

Using all your cards at once, spending on every road you encounter and even suffering from taxes and rule exceptions can help players realize how important it is to plan ahead and spend wisely. Going into debt early on in a game can mean opportunity costs down the road, just like in real life. If you want to see how your debt is affecting your credit (and possibly costing you real-life opportunities), you can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

It’s a good idea to pick up or dust off some board games this summer with or without the kids to update your financial knowledge and introduce fiscal responsibility to the newcomers.

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