When I was a kid, there were general high hopes that I would somehow learn how to play passable golf. Money was spent on golfing lessons, clubs and green fees; and I spent most mornings during my school holidays playing on the Junior Golf Circuit. I mean, it’s not nearly as fancy as it sounds. There was just a different designated golf course for each day of the week, and a table near the bar area where everyone signed in.

What would follow was a travesty of 18 holes (every single time). Clearly, I was never intended to be anything but a 36+ handicap. There was a lot of mocking from caddies (and the rest of my four ball). Also, by the time I eventually decided that my holidays were better spent elsewhere, I could maybe hope (hope) to get two pars in a round.

Anyway, during that Junior Golf period, once the 18 holes were done, the four ball would go home with one of the four ball’s parents, have lunch and a game of battleships in the pool, and then we’d play Monopoly™.

Playing it that regularly, we very quickly progressed to the point where there were clear strategies in play: depending on your dice roll, what properties you’d managed to acquire in the first ten rounds of the board, and which person was sizing up to be an appropriate alliance partner. And in retrospect, I’m not sure that life is so different.

Which leads me to…

Monopoly Life Lessons

1. Dice – they come, they go.

But roll them anyway. After all: it’s the only way that you’re going to get anywhere.

2. Properties come at different prices; but along the same strip, all hotels cost the same to build.

There is no substitute for good location.

3. The folks that focus on the expensive properties tend to lose, unless they’re really lucky.

Nine times out of ten, the guy holding the light blue properties (the first set of three after Go!) ends up winning. Probably because he can afford to build houses on them really quickly, and the rest of the us end up paying his rent. Usually by being forced to hand over that expensive property we just bought.

4. Own The Strip

When you control the neighbourhood, your chances of making money are high.

5. Or Own The Corner

Cornering the market is almost as good as owning the strip.

6. Utilities are useless

They are, at best, a bargaining tool to get a sought-after piece of real estate from someone that hasn’t realised that yet.

7. If you control all the stations, they’re nice little money-churners.

People tend to underestimate the train stations. But once you have your hands on them, they start to pay for themselves, and the houses that you’re planning on building on your next turn.

8. Community Chest is only a problem at the beginning of the game.

Once you’ve built up a cash pile, paying $10 to every player is a joke.

Oh – it’s fun to be rich.

9. The only people that can afford the Mayfair Hotel are the owners of the Mayfair Hotel.

Unless you own the rest of the board. In which case, that Mayfair hotel is going to be torn down so quickly it’s barely worth paying as you leave.

10. Mortgage?

What mortgage? Mortgages are for the poor players that ran out of money. The rich build houses and earn rent.

11. The key to a good deal is offering rent-free incentives and then exercising patience.

“If you give me this property, I’ll give you that one, and then you can land on any of my hotels three times and I won’t charge you. Deal?”

There’s usually resistance until everyone realises that the game is going nowhere unless someone makes a deal. Then you get what you want.

12. The Richest Player ends up taking over the bank.

Yes. Yes I think he is winning.

13. The longer the game goes on, the more you want to go to jail.

It certainly costs less. And your investments continue to earn money while you take it easy for three turns.

14. People may begin by wanting to win. But by the end, they just want you to lose.

The game is only won when everyone else has lost. #Fact

Does that make me a Republican?

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.