Who Has Played Monopoly® One Million Times?
My eleven-year-old daughter recently invited me to participate in Career Day at her elementary school. My task, of course, was to talk about being a “financial planner.” To help me prepare, the principal advised me to use props and asked me to emphasize the importance of being honest, sincere, and of good character. By the time I reached the third classroom, my presentation brought cheering 5th graders to their feet! Not really, but they did enjoy my use of the board game, Monopoly®, during my talk (and the free Holland Financial pencils!).
Imagine: I held up the game box and asked, “how many of you have played Monopoly® at least ten times?” Every hand went up. I followed with, “how many of you have played 50 times?” Some hands went down. “How about 500 times?” Now, some hands went back up. Apparently, I misjudged ... nobody wanted to lose this contest. I decided to end it with, “How many of you have played one million times?” That did it. All the hands went down. I asked them to imagine what it would be like if someone had actually played Monopoly® one million times. “How good do you think they would be?” That brought a flurry of raised hands anxious for permission to speak. “They’d be too good!” “It wouldn’t be fair.” “They’d be the boss.” “My cousin says he’s done that!” After acknowledging all their answers, I asked, “what if someone who had played one million times sat beside you while you played and gave you advice on the best move to make on each of your turns? Which properties to buy, when to build houses, and how to make deals with other players? Would that be good?” Almost as if they had practiced, they all shouted, “YES!”
Analogy: I seized on their wide-eyed focus and heightened attention to the concept I was trying to convey. “A financial planner is like that Monopoly® player, except he or she helps people make decisions about their money, like when to buy investments, how to pay for things like college, and how long they need to work until they can retire.” I know they “got it” because the next series of questions were about how much money they could make if they became a financial planner! Ha, ha! Young, hungry minds ask totally unexpected yet innocent questions ... now that’s refreshing!
Character: I then talked to the class about the most important part of being a financial planner. I told them that being honest is more important than being smart or giving good advice. You know what? They understood. It clicked. I confess, I really enjoyed seeing those lightbulbs go off. Anyhow, the kids seemed to like my talk, and I think my participation in Career Day made an impression. Well, at least I know it did on me.
David D. Holland, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, hosts a weekday radio show at 9AM on AM1380 Ormond Beach, AM1230 New Smyrna Beach and AM1490 Deland. He has also authored two books in his Confessions of a Financial Planner series. Holland offers investment advice through Holland Advisory Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser in Ormond Beach. He can be contacted at (386) 671-7526. Email your financial questions to info@DavidHolland.com.