Why Playing Games Will Make You a Better Investor

Why Playing Games Will Make You a Better Investor

Taking action, having fun, and growing your wealth

Sad news, apparently, for Monopoly fans this week as Hasbro announced that they were removing the classic thimble game piece from the popular board game.

Of course, it's not really Hasbro that made the decision. They opened public voting on what piece to remove in order to make room for more modern game pieces "like the hashtag, the wireless phone, and the rubber duck." After four million votes, the thimble was gone.

I don't really have a horse in the race when it comes to Monopoly game pieces, but this little piece of news did bring up some fond memories of playing the game with my best friend, Mike, and his dad, my rich dad.

Rich dad told us that, "One of the great formulas for wealth is found in this game: four green houses, one read hotel."

This one great formula rich dad spoke of was that of cash flow. Monopoly is a cash flow game. You purchase property, balancing cost and location, and collect rents when people land on your properties. In order to make more money, you develop and improve those properties, building houses and, eventually, hotels.

For example, having one green house on a property you own could make you $10 when someone lands on it. Then, two houses could make you $20. Three could make you $30. And a hotel could make you $50. Basically, more green houses and red hotels means more cash flow. It's a simple game, but an important lesson.

Playing Monopoly in real life

My rich dad didn't just play Monopoly with us on his sunny patio. He also played Monopoly in real life. He built his fortune from the ground up, starting with some small stores and moving into more and more sophisticated investments. Eventually he did own his own hotel right on the beach-and then a few more.

As I shared before , I learned four valuable lessons from my rich dad by watching him play Monopoly in real life:

  • Investing is not risky
  • Investing is fun
  • Investing can make you very, very rich
  • Investing can set you free from the struggle of earning for a living and worrying about money

Games make you a better investor

And this brings to mind a simple truth: games make you a better investor. A lot of people like to read or listen, but it's proven that you learn better by simulating than any other method of education.

A couple years ago, I shared a wonderful TED Talk by Gabe Zichermann called " Changing the Game in Education ." As I wrote then:

Zichermann talks about how the modern education system is fundamentally opposed to our nature as humans. Asking us to sit down and pay attention does very little for our education, when in reality we learn more by trying, making mistakes, and achieving. Experiencing the chemical benefits of the pleasure we feel when dopamine is released through our achievements helps us remember and learn far more efficiently.

He then goes on to make the case for why gamification is the future of education-including an amazing example of a teacher using Monopoly at a school in California's Inland Empire to teach kids about money, among other things. The result: a jump of 40 kids in the top rankings of the California Math Test, up from less than 10 at the start of the program.

Robert Kiyosaki

And as R.F. Mackay writes for Stanford University :

We may think we're pretty smart, but in fact we have very little notion of how humans learn. Kids know: They play games. Until, that is, they go to school. That's when the games stop. And often, so does the learning.

R.F. Mackay, Stanford University

This is why, even though we have books and seminars, we've always said the best way to learn how to invest is to play our financial education board game, CASHFLOW. We've seen that those who devote themselves to mastering this game, in addition to reading and hearing great talks, go on to much greater success in investing.

Perhaps this is because as Dan Schwartz, who runs the AAA Lab, "a technology and learning lab" at Stanford, has discovered , "one of the best negative predictors of performance was the act of walking away after failure." Games allow us to keep coming back to the table after we've failed, thereby improving our performance significantly over time.

Learning by doing, not hearing

In 1950, a nun who was a history and geography teacher in Calcutta was called on to help the poor and to live among them. Instead of just talking about caring for the poor, she chose to say very little and helped the poor with her actions, not just her words.

Because of this, when she did speak, people listened.

She had this to say about the difference between words and actions: "There should be less talk. A preaching point is not a meeting point. There should be more action on your part."

Games as meeting points

At Rich Dad, we made a conscious choice to incorporate games into our education methods because they require more action than a lecture. As Mother Teresa said, "A preaching point is not a meeting point." Our games are meeting points.

Games provide a social interaction for learning and helping someone else learn. When it comes to investing, there are too many people trying to teach by preaching. We all know that there are certain things that are not best learned by simply reading and listening. Some things require action to be learned, and games provide this elementary action step to learning.

Creating understanding

Confucius once said: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Ultimately, we believe that games create more understanding. And the more understanding people have, the more they can see the other side of the coin. Instead of seeing fear and doubt, the players begin to see opportunities they never saw before because their understanding increases each time they play the game.

There are many stories of people who have played our games and have had their lives suddenly changed. They have gained a new understanding about money and investing, an understanding that pushed out some old thoughts and gave them new possibilities for their lives.

A world of opportunity

Again, rich dad taught me to be a business owner and investor by playing the game of Monopoly. He was able to teach his son and me so much more after the game was over when we visited his business and real estate.

I wanted to create educational games that taught the same fundamental and technical investing skills that rich dad taught me, far beyond what is taught in Monopoly. As rich dad said, "The ability to manage cash flow and to read financial statements is fundamental to success on the B and I side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant."

That is why I developed my first board game, CASHFLOW. And that is also why we continue to develop new games and apps taking advantage of new technologies.

Each game teaches new skills, opens up your mind to a world of opportunity, and drills home the lessons of cash flow. With repetition, those lessons will become ingrained in your psyche and how you approach your financial future.

This post, originally titled "Why Games Are Better Teachers", has been updated from it's original publish date on September 2nd, 2014. See below for the original post content

Learning by doing, not hearing

In 1950, a nun who was a history and geography teacher in Calcutta was called on to help the poor and to live among them. Instead of just talking about caring for the poor, she chose to say very little and helped the poor with her actions, not just her words.

Because of this, when she did speak, people listened.

She had this to say about the difference between words and actions: “There should be less talk. A preaching point is not a meeting point. There should be more action on your part.”

Games as meeting points

When I was deciding how I wanted to teach financial education and the investment skills my rich dad taught me, I made a conscious choice to incorporate games into my methods. I did this because games require more action than a lecture. As Mother Teresa said, “A preaching point is not a meeting point.” Our games are meeting points.

Games provide a social interaction for learning and helping someone else learn. When it comes to investing, there are too many people trying to teach by preaching. We all know that there are certain things that are not best learned by simply reading and listening. Some things require action to be learned, and games provide this elementary action step to learning.

Creating understanding

Confucius once said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

My purpose in going beyond just writing books about money and investing, and creating games as learning tools, is to create more understanding. The more understanding people have, the more they can see the other side of the coin. Instead of seeing fear and doubt, the players begin to see opportunities they never saw before because their understanding increases each time they play the game.

There are many stories of people who have played our games and have had their lives suddenly changed. They have gained a new understanding about money and investing, an understanding that pushed out some old thoughts and gave them new possibilities for their lives.

A world of opportunity

Rich dad taught me to be a business owner and investor by playing the game of Monopoly. He was able to teach his son and me so much more after the game was over when we visited his business and real estate.

I wanted to create educational games that taught the same fundamental and technical investing skills that rich dad taught me, far beyond what is taught in Monopoly. As rich dad said, “The ability to manage cash flow and to read financial statements is fundamental to success on the B and I side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant.”

That is why I developed my first board game, CASHFLOW. And that is also why I continue to develop new games taking advantage of new technologies, like our brand new app, Capital City: The Finance and Strategy Game.

Each game teaches new skills, opens up your mind to a world of opportunity, and drills home the lessons of cash flow. With repetition, those lessons will become ingrained in your psyche and how you approach your financial future.

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