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How to Learn About Insurance and Money From Board Games

By: Eric Rosenberg

If you want to know how to understand insurance, playing games might be the right answer. Surprisingly, board games are a great way to learn about money management, health insurance for beginners and other important financial concepts.

Here are five games you and your family can play to level-up your personal finance IQ.

1. The Game of Life

The Game of Life, sometimes just called Life, is a popular board game that traces its roots back to the year 1860. It has been updated a handful of times over the last century and includes many fun lessons about money, insurance and planning for the future.

If you want to know how to understand insurance or teach your kids how to understand insurance, this game is perfect. It includes car insurance, life insurance, fire insurance and homeowners insurance, all essential parts of your family's financial plan.

2. Monopoly

Most kids in the United States get their first taste of real estate via Monopoly. This game teaches about real estate, mortgages, taxes and budgeting. You even gain insight into insurance through Community Chest and Chance cards that may require you to pay extra for properties or get a bonus from your life insurance proceeds.

Money management is a huge part of financial success. For real-estate money management, there's little better way to learn than a fun game of Monopoly. Just make sure to block off enough hours on your calendar to play the whole way to the end—in 1975, one game went 54 hours straight!

3. Payday

While it isn't quite as well-known as Life or Monopoly, Payday is another excellent board game to learn about money management. This game has also featured various editions over the years, but the core concept remains the same.

As you play, you accumulate money every payday and have to pay bills and expenses as they're due. The player with the most money at the end of the last month wins. This is a fun way to learn about health insurance for beginners, as well as auto insurance.

4. Poker

If you're more into card games than board games, there is plenty to be learned from poker. Two major money management concepts here are how to manage risk and avoid the sunk-cost fallacy.

Managing risk is a key part of how to understand insurance. When making each bet, you're deciding on the likelihood of a certain outcome. If you're right, you come out financially ahead. If you're wrong, you could face a loss.

Similarly, you shouldn't lump past costs into making future financial decisions. Each future dollar you risk is independent of past bets. You should never “pay to see the other player's hand" if you expect to lose, for example.

5. The Stock Market Game

Investing in the stock market is a core financial concept that anyone who plans to retire in the future should understand. Whole life insurance typically comes with an investment component, and it's wise to compare this return to your potential stock market returns when deciding between whole life and term life coverage.

The stock market can feel like a rollercoaster to some investors, which is why a stock market game is a fun way to learn. Using play money instead of your own dollars and cents, you can test out investing and trading strategies without real risk. Some major brokers offer this in demo accounts through a service called “paper trading." Either way, it's a fun way to learn about the economy and how the stock market works.

Play Your Way to Financial Literacy

Money management isn't taught at most schools, which means it's up to you to educate yourself and your kids. Learning through playing is a good way to boost your financial knowledge so you can make smart, real-life money decisions for years to come.

Eric Rosenberg is a freelance writer specializing in finance and investing. His writing work has appeared in Business Insider, Investopedia, Huffington Post, and many other outlets. Rosenberg also consults about financial management and small business solutions.