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If you’re like most people, you learn more when you’re having fun.  I know I do.

Want to learn more about becoming financially independent?

Then CashFlow 101 is the game for you.  At it’s simplest, it’s a board game created by Robert Kiyosaki as part of his Rich Dad program of educating the public about attaining financial freedom, or as he puts it “increasing your financial IQ.”

If you’ve been reading Enwealthen awhile, then you know of the sad state of affairs of our financial system – the dollar decreasing in value, the stock markets and housing markets artificially inflated by low interest rates and $85B per month in new money creation, the looming bankruptcy of Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid – and wondering what you can do to secure a safe, comfortable retirement.

As part of my ongoing education, I’ve read several of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad books and have been intrigued by his educational board game, CashFlow 101.  However, at $80 each on Amazon, I wasn’t ready to spend that much money on a whim.  I tried the CashFlow 101 Online offered on RichDad.com, but it was a Flash-based game and crashed my browser all 3 times I tried it.

Luckily, there are fellow travelers also interested in increasing their financial IQ with CashFlow 101, and meeting new potential CashFlow players.  To find a CashFlow Club near you, you can check out the official Rich Dad Global CashFlow Club Facebook page, or do what I did, and search Meetup for a CashFlow Club near you.

Diving Into CashFlow 101

The game is fairly easy to pick up as a new player, assuming you aren’t intimidated by numbers or math.

To start, you blindly select a career card – doctor, lawyer, janitor, etc. – which gives you your income and expenses and net positive cash flow to start.  You transfer that information to your playing sheet (use pencil because you update these numbers frequently!) called the “Income Statement.”  You then roll dice to proceed around the board in turn.

The board is divided in 2 parts – the rat race and the fast track.  On the tiny rat race you go around in circles collecting your paycheck, getting opportunities to buy or sell investments, and risking having to use your hard-earned money to buy “doodads” such as baseball tickets or new sunglasses.  Once your passive income exceeds your expenses, you graduate to the fast track where you do much larger deals costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in passive income.

The ultimate goal is to land on the fast track square you chose at the beginning of your game which represents your “dream” with enough cash on hand to buy it.  Examples of dreams are “buy a rain forest” or “golf trip around the world”, the point being, it’s something you can afford to do once you have enough money coming in on a regular basis.  Do that first, and you win the game.

This all sounds very easy.  However, the opportunities can be tricky.  You land on an “opportunity” space and pick a “small deal” card or a “big deal” card (“big deals” require more capital, so you typically start with the small deals).  An example deal might be that someone is selling their automated business in video games, with a value, down payment, mortgage, and cash flow given on the card.  You have to decide if it’s worth purchasing the deal based on the numbers given.  If you don’t have enough money, you can borrow money at 10% interest, so you end up with the passive income from the deal, but it’s reduced by the cost of the loan.  If you buy the deal, you enter the information on your income statement, the goal being to increase your passive income to the point where it’s high enough to exit the rat race and enter the fast track.

Opportunities typically consist of buying real estate, buying stock, and buying businesses.  One other space on the board is “The Market” which gives everyone playing the chance to sell an investment at a given price.  For example, if you bought a 3BR/2BA condo for $50,000 in an earlier deal, and someone draws a market card that lets you sell it for $100,000, you could sell it, flipping the real estate in effect, but you lose the passive income the investment generated.  In the end, the entire time on the “rat race” track, you are balancing a need for cash to purchase deals and the need for cash flow to graduate to the fast track.  Sound familiar?

My First CashFlow

For my first game, I was a janitor.  Low income, but low expenses.  Hit with beginner’s luck, I made a killing on a stock in the first 4 turns and then had the chance to leverage that into a 3BR/2BA home.  I sold that a few turns later and lucked into an automated business with 96% ROI and suddenly I had graduated to the fast track.  However, I quickly realized a key strategic point, which is even though it took the doctors and lawyers longer to cover their expenses and graduate to the fast track, they had 5 to 10 times the amount of cash to do deals on the fast track and quickly pulled away from me once they made the jump.

Flowing With the CashFlow

All in all, it’s a very enjoyable game.  If you’re interested in investing in businesses outside the stock market (and you should be), I strongly recommend the game.  It’s very simplistic, but empowering, and gives you practice thinking about businesses from a cash flow perspective.  I admit, Robert Kiyosaki’s philosophy is all about borrowing money and the power of leveraging debt, which is reflected in the game.  Many people are scared of debt.  However, if you’re going to go into business, you have take some chances, just make sure they’re carefully calculated chances, with a clear exit strategy if it goes sideways on you.

From a complexity standpoint, anyone comfortable with basic math should be able to play it.  While Rich Dad does offer a CashFlow for Kids, I don’t see any problems with anyone 11 years old or older playing this game.  Just think of it as Monopoly, on steroids.  Rich Dad also offers a CashFlow 202 for more advanced players.  I haven’t played that yet, but am looking forward to it after several more games of CashFlow 101.  Expect a CashFlow 202 review here soon.

All told, highly recommended.  I’m adding it to my wish list, and planning on playing it with my nieces and nephews at the next family gathering.  It’s never too early to start educating the younger generation on how to think differently from the herd.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for the Enwealthen mailing list for more updates direct to your inbox.  You can also read more reviews or purchase CashFlow 101 on Amazon.

What do you think?  Have you played any of the CashFlow games, and did you find it useful?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Image of the Rat Race courtesy of Ethan Bloch.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for the link back to my site! Great write up. I was always curious about the cash flow game and what it was like, but I never wanted to spend that much on a board game.

    I have a very similar philosophy with money. If I can make a higher return on my investment then the interest rate in my debt I will Borrow all day long.

    I don’t care where the debt comes from, car house etc. I am making 24% cash on cash return on my rental properties so basically any debt is good debt for me right now.

  2. Thanks, Mark. Having been in significant debt earlier in my life, I'm struggling with the risk of too much debt. Obviously, an investment which is cash flow positive from the start is less risky than the alternative. However, you can't predict the future, and may find yourself suddenly on the wrong side of the debt, e.g. IRS decides to eliminate the mortgage deduction for a second home and your $100/month cash flow positive investment is suddenly a $3000/year drain on your assets. Presumably that is where investing via a corporation will protect your personal assets, but losing your investment nest egg is still a risk to be weighed.

    • It’s fun. I think I enjoyed the camaraderie of playing with like-minded people as much as the game itself. With a local monthly meetup is a great way to meet new people and learn about their financial freedom successes and failures.

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