Can the CashFlow 101 game teach you about your finances? Perhaps…

Is anyone here a fan of CashFlow 101 game? Did you ever play the game before? I’ve been a keen player of the game for some time now. I’ve even introduced to some of my students over the years, even the younger ones enjoyed playing the game.

What is CashFlow 101?

Cashflow 101 is an educational board game designed by Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

The aim of the CashFlow 101 game is to teach the players about investing and making their money work for them. The game provides a setting that is challenging yet informal while helping players some basic lessions in financial literacy. In playing the games, players find it easier to learn and use the basic principles of personal financial management.

Interview with the CashFlow 101 Game Designer

The CashFlow 101 game board is divided into two stages. The first is “the rat race” in which the player is given a basic bank account, spending habits, personal and mortgage debt and a salary. As the game starts, each roll of the dice determines what opportunities you have or what expenses you must make.

There are four sets of cards that determine different the assets and liabilities that you must take on. And each expense or income has to be adjusted. Players go around the rat race trying to accumulate the amount of money that will allow them to enter the fast track.

The promotion criteria is quite simple: that passive income generated in the game must exceed the expenses of the player. Given the different jobs, salaries and financial pictures, this can be quite a challenge!

Personal Comments

Cashflow 101 is actually one great board game. While I won’t go into the rules, as other websites cover this well, I will say that is quite an educational game. I’ve found it quite instructional in a number of ways:

  1. it can model our behavior patterns in a number of ways, esp. our spending patterns, our consumption patterns, our lack of savings as a financially less than capable society, etc
  2. it can model changes in behavior as people try out different strategies, occupations, savings rates, etc.
  3. it can show the longer term consequences of our actions by very quickly showing the results of our dependence on particular aspects of our financial management.
  4. it can show people how to monitor and record aspects of their financial situation, their balance sheet, etc.
  5. it is actually a lot more challenging to play than monopoly.
  6. and, as if you needed another one, it is actually fun to play, we can share our own ideas about money management and financial planning, because, oddly , as our societies consume, it seems there is less and less discussion of the positive aspects of financial management amongst people, and muce more talk about consumption.

You can watch this YouTube video that shows a CashFlow 101 game being played (in Russian, I think) but the game is English and it shows you what the game looks like, and give you a sense of how it is played.

Suggestions, Notes and Improvements

There are some flaws in the CashFlow 101 game that need some working on:

  1. you can ‘learn’ how to win the game, because you know which cards are likely to come up if you play this game more than a few times, there are fewer risks for those who gamble by borrowing money;
  2. stocks are grossly overly simplified, as are houses. You can generally do well investing in stocks, if you know what cards are likely to come up. Again, being more familiar with the cards can help you analyze which cards, so when you hear the offers, you buy them;
  3. there needs to be more challenge to the game for those who played more than a couple of times – so I’d suggest creating a book of separate missions that you can use to play your part in extending the games playability, perhaps increasing the difficulty of individual player’s positions by recreating real-life scenarios;
  4. and, the fast track is spectacularly dull to play, there is little complexity or variety. I think the Rat Race is far more interesting to play.

Financial Education: Commonsense at a price!

Overall, though, it is an expensive game for people to play at nearly $220. If you are interested in playing, perhaps head on over to the Rat Race Players’ (defunct)¬†website for clubs near you. It’s worth a rainy or cool rainy¬†Sunday afternoon!

[For those seeking more of a challenge, you can play CashFlow 202 which is an additional set of cards for the basic game board.]

Have you ever played? What did you think about the CashFlow 101 game? Did you enjoy it? Why?