How does Monopoly teach kids about finance, money & life skills?

How does Monopoly teach kids about finance, money & life skills?

Monopoly is an international phenomenon. The game, which has thousands of versions,  is sold in 114 countries and translated into 47 languages. It’s so popular because it manages to be fun, engaging and a brilliant way to teach kids about money, while boosting some key life skills. With our economic research showing the difference teaching kids to be financially literate can make, there has never been a better time to bring out this board game.




Money lessons you can learn from Monopoly

So what can Monopoly teach kids? With a Cambridge University study showing financial habits start to be formed by the age of seven and other studies demonstrating that kids learn best with enjoyable and relevant experiences, Monopoly wins on all fronts. 

From a financial education perspective, Monopoly helps younger kids to brush up on their maths skills. To be good at the game, you need to be able to know how much money you have and work out whether you have enough money to buy a property or pay your taxes. 


Players must also understand how to work out rent (multiplication) and do simple maths to tell other players how much they owe you when they land on your properties.

The game also introduces a range of financial terms you can explain to your kids, such as income tax, utility payments, mortgages, rents, stocks, investments and fines.


Monopoly financial concepts


In Monopoly, if a player spends more money than you earn, they will eventually go bankrupt. This is the same in real life. If a person spends more money than they have, they will ultimately end up in debt. Monopoly teaches players the importance of budgeting and playing within their means.



You can play it safe in Monopoly, but you must invest your money in property, houses, and hotels to win and get ahead. The game teaches you that the right investments can help you to make more money in the long run. 


Risk management

Players must learn how to manage their risk to win. This means learning to take calculated risks to make money and being aware of their actions' financial consequences. For example, buying an expensive property even though they know it leaves them cash short for a while.



Monopoly also teaches players the importance of saving money. You can earn money in the game by passing Go, collecting rent from other players, and winning Chance and Community Chest cards. However, players can also lose money by landing on other people's property, paying taxes, and going to jail. This is why if your kids want to be successful in Monopoly, they need to save  money in case of a setback.



Players can only afford to buy properties, pay rent and make investments if they have cash. This means they need to earn and save more than they're spending. Doing this helps kids to understand delayed gratification (i.e. you can't buy everything you want) and why they need to budget and save.



In Monopoly, players can also take out loans to buy properties and make investments. However, they will go bankrupt if they can’t afford to pay back the loans. This is the same in real life. If a person borrows more money than they can afford to repay, they'll end up in debt.




Life skills learned from playing Monopoly

To succeed in life, your child needs a range of life skills that teach them how to plan, solve problems, negotiate and more. Here's how Monopoly can help.



Monopoly only allows players to make decisions on their turn; this means decision-making has to be done quickly and in a measured way. This teaches kids about the value of forward planning, so they can make a decision quickly. 



Monopoly can be challenging, and players must learn how to solve problems to win. Players may encounter unexpected setbacks, such as landing on Chance or Community Chest squares, and they must be able to think on their feet to overcome these challenges.


Related: Teaching problem solving skills to kids


Critical thinking

Monopoly requires players to think critically about their decisions. Players must assess the value of different properties and assets, and they must make decisions based on the information that they have available. Players must also be able to identify and evaluate different strategies.



Monopoly teaches players the importance of negotiation. Players must negotiate with each other to buy and sell properties, make trades, and avoid paying rent.


Strategic thinking 

This is the ability to look at the big picture and develop a plan to achieve a long-term goal. Players must consider what their opponents are likely to do and how to counter their moves. 


Risk management

There is a certain amount of risk in Monopoly, so the game teaches kids to take calculated risks to win the game. Risk too much by buying too many expensive properties, and you go bankrupt; take a more measured risk and you could make more money.



Monopoly can teach players the importance of grit. Grit is the combination of passion and perseverance for long-term goals. It is the ability to keep going even when things get tough. 


How can GoHenry help?

Kids learn best by doing. So show them how to manage money for themselves with a GoHenry prepaid kids debit card.  Available for kids aged 6-18, GoHenry is a safe way for kids to practise their financial literacy skills. There’s a companion app for parents which allows you to pay pocket money, monitor spending, top up when necessary and create saving pots. Money Missions is our in-app financial education tool, allowing your kids to explore various financial topics, from budgeting to saving and more. 





Related articles:

Financial words parents should explain to their kids

Money apps for kids

Money games for kids
Written by Anita Naik Published Dec 4, 2023 ● 6 min. read