24 June 2016

Walton promotes financial literacy with moderated Cashflow games

Source: Walton. Two groups of Cashflow gamers in full swing, plus facilitators from Walton.
Source: Walton International Group. Two groups of Cashflow gamers in full swing, plus facilitators from Walton.

It was an absolute adrenalin rush to buy a startup and sell it for $100,000, all within the hour. I had a pilot's salary of $9,500, and the cash just kept rolling in. The other participants in the Cashflow game weren't doing so well, or so I thought. One kept hovering between complete insolvency and barely enough to survive. The other had a pittance for a salary, and never seemed to have enough for investments.

I did everything 'right'. Bet on the smaller investments in the beginning (because who can afford larger ones, anyway). Cleared up some of the outstanding liabilities (after a little advice from the banker). Got more to spend.. but also more to pay for. In the end, my passive income was just about $1,000 less than my costs, and it was actually someone else who ended up closer to leaving the rat race.

Lots of money. No passive income.
Lots of money. No passive income.

Singapore holds the distinction of being the first place where Cashflow was played, in 1996. Conceived by Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, the game teaches players about wealth and investing in a fun way. The boardgame simulates real life in offering salaries every so often, as well as opportunities for investments, random payouts on those investments, and recurring as well as one-off costs. Everyone starts off with a different set of assets and liabilities, but all have a chance of leaving the rat race and getting on the road to financial freedom through ensuring that there is enough passive income - money that arrives even without working, through rentals, stock dividends and the like - to cover existing expenses. 

Why leave the rat race? Remember, no one is able to work forever, even if they might want to. Financial freedom means the flexibility to retire. of going to work and getting paid for it only if you feel like it. If you choose not to work, or work for free, there would still be enough income from other sources to pay the bills. While this sounds too good to be true - anything could happen to increase expenses, and not every source of passive income will keep delivering income forever - this equation of 'passive income > expenses' is in essence the only way to be financially free, and also a goal that anyone can theoretically achieve if they make the right choices in life.

Source: Walton. Veterans of the game end up with more wealth overall.
Source: Walton International Group.
There are many ways to arrive at passive income, all of which begin with having enough funds to actually invest in something. The four veterans who were playing a separate game on the other side of the room accelerated opportunities to gain passive income through collaboration in different ways, by banding together to crowdfund investments, sub-selling portions of those investments with each other, and flipping investments (selling at a profit) for example. 

The beginners were less savvy, but Walton International Group facilitators led discussions on whether to offer opportunities to others and pool investments with a commission when one player didn't have the money to invest alone. Collaboration led to more opportunities to invest that would not have been possible otherwise, and well worth considering.

After passive income is obtained, the key is to hold on to it. I nearly sold a bunch of apartments when a sales opportunity arrived, because it would have been much more money than the monthly rental; but as the game master pointed out, I might not get the same opportunity to enjoy the same passive income again. 

Each game usually runs for two to three hours, with each hour of gameplay equivalent to what might happen financially in 10 years of working life. If enough money is generated to target sources of passive income it is entirely possible to leave the rat race. Three of the four veteran players achieved it, for example, and I know it was within reach for me. 

People who play the Cashflow the Boardgame for the first time typically learn something about the way they view money. I learned that having lots of cash did not equate to leaving the rat race, and not to sell off sources of passive income if I could help it. I might not have such sources of passive income in real life, but I know now how financial freedom should work.

These insights might not have been so easy to come by without moderation by Walton. Paul Huang, Account Manager, Walton International Group, who acted as gamemaster for the session, noted that playing the Cashflow game helps players learn more about their own financial habits and perspectives. "Rather than make mistakes outside, why not make the mistakes here and save you thousands of dollars outside?" he said. "We help you see a blind side of you."

Huang also shared that games with four to five players are ideal learning environments as players can cooperate and be influenced by others, but also need to work towards their own goals.


Walton is open to running moderated Cashflow the Boardgame sessions if groups are large enough. The company is a multinational, privately-owned real estate investment and development group concentrating on land in major North American growth corridors. The investments are considered low-risk and long-term. An introduction to the company is presented at the game sessions. Request an invitation from Faith Ong Yan Ying, VP, Walton by email: Yanying.ong at walton.com

posted from Bloggeroid