Most real estate investors and money managers will sometimes recall having fond memories as a child playing the game Monopoly. I was not one of them. My absolute favorite was The Game of LIFE from Hasbro. If you have never played this game, it is a must have to play at least once. The objective as you might guess is going through a mock-life where you start out with almost nothing and have to make decisions along the way regarding college, career, marriage, having kids, saving, going on vacation, and other events all the way to death. You may spin the wheel and find out your got a promotion at your job, then on the next turn get into a car accident where you have to pay out a lot of money from your nest egg. Once everyone reaches the end of the game at retirement, everyone pays their debts and adds up their wealth. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins!
This game not only mimicked life fairly well, incorporating all the key events that most people must face, but it was a great conversation starter when played as a family. You could discuss questions like, “Do I go to college and incur the debt, or do I take the path of a trade school and start generating income immediately?” But what made this my favorite game was really what happened at the end. There was a scenario where even if you had been behind in wealth the entire time, if you got lucky and guessed the right number on your final spin, you could win the entire game.
I remember playing this game with my brother and grandfather when I was probably no older than 9 or 10 years old. I was behind the whole game and was on my last spin. I picked my birthday as the number that would come up and was right, winning the entire game. I’ve won $1000 at a Realtor event, I’ve won gift cards and other drawings with worse odds, but for some reason this one event sticks with me above all others. My guess was no better than picking numbers at the roulette table in Vegas, but getting the right number was a step change for me. It didn’t come until the very end, but it came when it was most important. I realized that it was never too late to make an amazing come back.
There are many lessons to take away from The Game of LIFE, that can help us in the real game of life. Step changes do happen. Setbacks do happen. And yes, there is a little luck that will be needed in order to be super successful at anything. It’s easy to take life too serious and try and control every outcome. But if you step back and take life for what it is - treat it like a game; you’ll probably be happier along the way. Even if you achieve financial success at the very end, you may have friends, family, or even a charity that can benefit years after you’re gone.
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