Why is a finance site reviewing a board game? Well, we’ve all played Monopoly and tried to build a financial empire, but if you’re looking for a game that will teach you how to be wealthy in real life, Cashflow is the board game you need to consider. I am not a big board game player, but I say from personal experience that this game and the book have been a very important part of my personal journey to financial freedom.
This board game is a companion to the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which I covered in another article, and is a great way to put in practice what Kiyosaki teaches in the book. You don’t read many financial blogs talking about board games, but I have personally found this game to be very useful, so I felt that it is worth sharing my thoughts here.
Games are always a great way to teach many lessons, and this game does that well for kids and for adults too. It is the perfect way to teach yourself and your children the value of money by teaching 3 most important skills: how to make money, how to manage money, and how to invest money. Most importantly, it will help you get in a frame of mind to become rich even when coming from a poor background.
With its easy-to-understand rules, the game is simple and effective, and perfect for children of all ages. The game also helps improve their understanding of cash flow and mental maths. I played this game with my friends, my spouse, and my retired parents. We all loved it!
How do you play Cashflow?
The board game is structured in two main sections: The Rat Race and The Fast Track. All players are assigned a profession (Nurse, Engineer, Mechanic, etc.) with their corresponding income levels and balance sheet. All players start in the daily grind of the rat race with some cash in the bank, dealing with the various opportunities and challenges that life throws up.
As you proceed through the game, you receive your salary and have to take care of your necessary expenses (Payday tile), may incur some unnecessary spending (Doodad card), and then figure out what to do with the rest of your money. Be careful, landing on Downsized, means your lose your job, but your expenses do not go away!
When you land on Opportunity, you can draw a Deal card to get a chance at buying in to an investment opportunity. Deals come in two sizes – Small Deals (cost of $5,000) or Big Deals (starting at $6,000). Each deal comes with its set of cashflows. Very exciting!
The Market cards are where you will find buyers for your investments. In the game, it means that you can sell your investment to the Bank. Alternatively, this also includes market-moving events that impact your holdings and may lead to losses.
The only “boring” part of the game is that you are required to maintain your financial statements. Not only that, you have to audit your co-player, so you get the joyous experience of doing the accounting and auditing! All jokes aside, it is actually an interesting exercise once you get the hang of it and is vital to help you keep track of your progress through the game.
The objective of the game is to break out of the rat race by securing enough passive income that all your life expenses are taken care of. Once you have done that, you’re off to the fast track!
The fast track is really just the fun portion of the game (and in life) where players get to make investments and compound their wealth over time. As long as you keep your expenses below your passive income level, you get to stay in the fast track and keep getting richer! The ultimate goal is to chase your “cheese”, the Dream tile on the Fast Track which you identify at the start. This is much like chasing your own dream in real life – perhaps you want to be a millionaire and enjoy living in a mansion on the beach or owning a nice car!
The game lets you get creative and buy and sell investments from your co-players. You are even able to go in on deals together. Although it might complicate the accounting a little bit, it makes it easier for the players with a lower cash level to still get access to bigger deals.
Debt and Bankruptcy
The game also nicely covers the concept of borrowing money and what the negative implications of that could be. You can borrow money from the bank with a fixed monthly interest rate of 10%. It’s not cheap! You have to be very careful when you borrow the money and what you are borrowing it for. If you are borrowing it to invest, then you better be earning more than what you pay, or you’re going to be bankrupt pretty fast. And if you are borrowing to pay for Doodads, then you might as well declare bankruptcy right away!
There is no concept of amortizing the loans in the game, which is useful to keep things simple. You can just pay off the debt in full whenever you have the requisite cash.
In the game, like in real life, when your cashflow turns negative and you do not have any cash savings to rely upon, you are effectively bankrupt. You can sell your assets at a low price to the bank (a fire sale in action) to free up some funds. If that does not generate enough cash, you are fully bankrupt and lose the game.
How long does it take to play Cashflow?
Depending on the total number players, the quality of decision making (from a financial perspective), and the speed of the player, the game can take anywhere from one to two hours to finish. The accounting and book keeping aspect is the most time consuming, but once you get a hang of it, it becomes quicker and easier.
How to Maximize Your Learnings
Playing the game and winning is fun, but where you really maximize learning is by playing this game over and over multiple times. Try picking different professions, trying out different spending levels, investing in the various opportunities, and dealing with the challenges.
One of the biggest learnings for me here was that higher income does not necessarily result in higher wealth. Your savings level and how you invest that savings are your two biggest drivers for breaking out of the rat race. It all seems rather obvious as a concept, but when you see it in action, it really hits you.
The game lets you compress the learnings of several lifespans in to a few sessions, so it is incredibly valuable. Hopefully by making the financial mistakes here (try making some bad decisions in the game intentionally), rather than in your real life, you can avoid learning painful mistakes with you hard earned cash.
It is also important to not get hung up on the fact that the game is heavily levered towards real estate. The takeaway should be find to investment opportunities and assets that are going to generate income for you over the long run, no matter what form they take.
Is it worth buying Cashflow Board Game?
Although it may be pricey at first glance, Cashflow is actually amazing value for those who want to learn about basic investing principles. I too had my doubts about this game at first glance, but after playing it for hours on end I can safely say that it is amazing value.
Here’s a tip – a couple of friends can chip in and buy the game using shared funds. This is what I did. Once you have learnt all that you can from the game, you can try and resell it on eBay or elsewhere! It is safe to say that I have earned back more than 1000x of what I paid for this game. It has delivered a fantastic return on investment.
- GET RICH WITH THE MOST POPULAR INVESTING GAME. CASHFLOW is developed by renowned entrepreneur and motivational speaker Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad. This game is the ultimate realization of Robert’s vision of an interactive tool for financial education, and the fulfillment of his belief that we learn best by doing. Put your financial skills to the test and learn how to escape the rat race right in the comfort of your own home.
- EXCITING NEW UPDATES. After many years of exciting tabletop games that train players on the fundamentals of money management, this financial game just got even better and more intuitive. The game is introducing new playing cards, professions, and spaces that you can use during the game. A user-friendly income statement is also available that will lead you to push harder to outplay your other opponents. The board game design will simply excite you to play – and be better in each game.
- EXPLORE NEW TOOLS AMIDST A BEAUTIFUL AND STYLISH SETTING. Start a group and play the game over and over, until you begin to break up the core conditioning most people learn at home and at school – the conditioning of working hard for money. The board game design will simply excite you to play – and be better in each game. CASHFLOW introduces a new custom dice and mice meeples that are matched with a lovely new graphics and flair to bring more excitement into every play.
- TAKE LEARNING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL. This game will help you gain the knowledge on how to be wealthy and that with be life changing. Be the boss and find out more about yourself financial styles and know if it matches your opponent. Sharpen your financial literacy skills and relearn the concepts of investing and making money. Perhaps if you are the saving type, try out forceful investing. If you like taking risks, maybe try to do steady growth.
- PLAY FASTER & BETTER. GUARANTEED 100% SATISFACTION. Test your skills and strategy about personal finance and learn the best way to succeed. Also, there are now so many new ways to win this game that will surely electrify all players as they battle for financial supremacy. Learn how to win and win to learn!
Why is Cashflow game so expensive?
While it is expensive, the price reflects the value that you get out of the game. I also felt that the game was very expensive when I first decided to buy it, but ultimately, I realized that what I learnt from the game helped me make a lot more than what I paid for the game. One way to help reduce the cost of buying the game is to split the cost with a few like-minded friends and share it amongst yourselves.
Is Cashflow game realistic?
The game is the equivalent of a taking a class on personal finances. It teaches the basic, but very important, concepts of saving, investing, debt, bankruptcy, and most importantly – financial independence. It is not going to make you a brilliant investor; however it provides the mental framework to help your thoughts in the right direction. This game is an excellent starting point in the journey to your financial education.
What is the difference between Cashflow 101 and the new version (Cashflow 202)?
Cashflow 202 is an expansion to the original version of the game. It introduces more the sophisticated concepts of financial markets trading (such as short selling and options) and business concepts such as franchising. The game also rightly puts greater weighting on losses and market crashes, making it more likely that you will experience losses. As a result, it is a more challenging game that is better suited for experienced players. However my opinion is that for people who are seriously interested in learning the more technical concepts of finance, it is better to just dive in to a course or textbook on the topic rather than spending time on the 202 version of the game.
Cashflow 101 Board Game
If you're looking for a game that will positively impact your thought process around money, Cashflow is it. Read my review about the board game.
by Jon Craig
I am the creator of Project Financially Free and I started this journey to both educate myself and share my insights on personal finance. I’m passionate about financial literacy and I invite you to join me on this transformative path. See more.