Childhood Games Indicating Financial Personality

Kyle has been lobbying for us to get a chess set for several months now so we can play together, and last Friday I finally agreed and we picked one up.  We played four games over the next two days and he beat me soundly in every one.  I am a bad loser so I was kind of sulking after, and I asked him if he would let our (future) kids win in chess.  Then I had a flashback to playing Monopoly when I was a kid with an uncle who beat me very thoroughly, and my feelings were similarly hurt.

Here’s the thing that I remember about that game: when we started, I kind of bragged to my uncle that part of my strategy was to take one of the two $500 bills dealt to me and put it to the side, away from the rest of my money to serve as an emergency reserve as well as capital to be potentially invested in Boardwalk, which was my favorite property.  And of course, he beat me by a lot so I was forced to use my reserve $500 to pay bills before I went bankrupt, and I never got the opportunity to purchase Boardwalk.

Even as a child, my risk-averse, conservative saver personality was evident in my game-playing!  I didn’t know anything about finances at that point except for “save for a rainy day.”  I don’t think that’s the greatest strategy for Monopoly but it’s a pretty good one for life – keep some money aside in case you get in some trouble and save for investment opportunities.

Did you see hints of your money tendencies during game-pay as a child?  I also remember playing some kind of stock market game in school and Kyle played a small business game.  And of course there was Oregon Trail!

photo by rutty

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Filed under: emergency fund, personal, savings

2 Responses to "Childhood Games Indicating Financial Personality"

  1. Heather says:

    Funny you mention this, because recently I’ve been thinking about saving (in a bank account) vs investing (in property, an education, etc.) and I know a game that severely encourages the latter behavior.

    It’s called Power Grid. Your goal is to power cities by acquiring rights to power them, build power plants, and buying the fuel to power them. The more cities you power, the more money make and hence, the more cities, the more plants, the more fuel… you can see where this goes. Effects like supply and demand and evolving technologies (making more efficient power plants) come into play as the game progresses.

    You can’t make money without spending money. Remarkably (or maybe not so remarkably) the first time I employed the “I’m going to acquire, build and buy as much as I can on each round” strategy (saving only when I didn’t have the money to buy what I needed), I won the game.

    Of course, there are no “bankruptcy cards” or other truly unexpected emergencies built in, so it’s not exactly representative of businesses… But it does teach you a bit about the return on your investments. Simply saving will not get you as far as buying, selling, and turning a profit.

    It’s pretty fun, and can be played with 2 – 6 players; always a plus if there are usually just two of you around. 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Hm, that sounds like an interesting game. I agree it would be more realistic if some emergency/bankruptcy situations were incorporated. I suppose I’m not personally differentiating between savings and investing vehicles at this point in my life because I’m a “long-term investor” but it will certainly become important as that timeline shrinks.

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