Couple Money

Does Playing Monopoly Teach Us About Our Spouse’s Spending Habits?

I got a lot of advice about marriage during our engagement. Some solicited. Some not so much. One such piece was to play monopoly with my soon-to-be spouse to see how he handles money. We didn’t ever get around to it pre-wedding because well, I had finals to study for. Such is the case when you graduate college and get married on the same day.

But we did afterward the wedding. We settled down to dinner, and I pulled out Anti-Monopoly, a twist on the standard game that more reflects society. There are competitors and monopolists. He was a monopolist; I was a competitor, and while the rules are slightly different for each character, the game playing is the same.

The hubby was rather reckless with his money, and ended up in debt most of the time. At one point, he had mortgaged all his properties and has $11 in the bank, we thought he was done for. And then he passed Go.  He ended up bouncing back, and by the time we had finished our 4-hour game (11pm is enforced bedtime around here. I need my shut-eye to deal with the kids at work come morning), he had $1274 in all his money and properties.

I had triple that in assets.

Ironically, though, while I play rather similarly to the way I manage money (I cried when I had to break my last 500 note. Goodbye emergency fund!), he does not. At all. In our financial life, my husband is classically risk avoidant. When we met for our budget meeting earlier that day, he proposed that we save $900 of our paycheck. Nine hundred dollars, ladies and gentlemen. That’s in addition to the 15% we’re putting in our 401k. The same man that went broke in Anti-Monopoly wants to save $900 a month.

Gotta say, I love that about him. He’s incredibly financially motivated, as am I. And we both have very similar financial goals. But as we played, it was kind of like his alter ego popped out. What would the hubby do if money was unlimited type of thing. He claims that it was a misunderstanding of the rules early on in the game, but I think it was his Mr. Hyde coming out. He doesn’t like Monopoly, so maybe he was sabotaging the game on purpose.

Either way, sometimes playing Monopoly (or Anti-Monopoly) is not an indicator of financial compatibility.  We really enjoyed the exercise. Correction, I really loved the exercise; he begged me to win so we could end the came. But it didn’t end with this giant revelation like all the “experts” said it was going to.

So play Monopoly, but don’t base your future off of it like so many people told me to.


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