Making Monopoly Better by Youth Financial Education

Jeanne A. Curley

From an early age, we are taught the wrong things about money and business. Consider the very popular board game Monopoly(R). The game was developed by an engineer at the beginning of the 20th century. In a world of Robber Barons and at the genesis of Scientific Management as a management science, it is possible that a strictly win-lose game is an accurate teaching tool about business. To me, this is a grossly inaccurate way to teach young people about business in a Knowledge Economy, where success is much more about fostering cooperation, sharing ideas and mutual success. Today’s business environment is all about fostering win-win relationships. It’s a great time to be running a business.

I love Monopoly(R) but I have found a few minor rule changes can make it a much more accurate depiction about business today. It also makes the game move more quickly and allows for teaching lessons of negotiation and the art of creating win-win solutions in business.

Rule 1) All rents are paid by the bank
Rents are not paid by other players. When a player lands on another player’s property, this simulates the market giving buying signals to the owning player.

Rule 2) Making Payroll

Every time a player passes “Go”, the player must pay 10% of the purchase price of all owned properties (both mortgaged and unmortgaged). This simulates making monthly payroll and teaches the player the importance of cash-flow management.

Rule 3) Partnered Ownership.

Players can partner to form monopolies and divide the proceeds as agreed. Property ownership is no longer an attrition game. Deal making is encouraged much earlier in the game. In the traditional game, many players wait until nearly all the properties are acquired to begin making deals, which draws the game out. In business, jumping on opportunities quickly is vital to success.

Rule 4) Private Lending

Players may lend money to other players under whatever terms mutually agreed upon. Successful business people know that a lack of money is rarely an obstacle when the opportunity is great. Part of the art of deal making is assembling the team that has all the necessary resources. Often, one party brings funding.

Rule 5) Ending the Game

The game ends when the last hotel is sold and therefore, the market has achieved “saturation”. This teaches the importance of taking action quickly and encourage deal making as soon as possible.

A few simple rule changes like these can reinvent Monopoly(R) and make it a much better learning tool.

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