Happy birthday, Monopoly! The popular board game first went on sale on this date in 1935, and while the game has undergone several changes over the year, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the game is a great way for parents to introduce personal finance concepts to their children.

Think about it, Monopoly teaches children about a variety of personal finance topics:

  • Managing a finite amount of money
  • How to make change
  • The bank always has more money than you do
  • Paying rent is inevitable
  • Mismanagement of your money can lead to excessive mortgages and ultimately bankruptcy
  • It’s hard to avoid the tax man
  • Some financial deals can improve your immediate situation but harm you in the long run. (Note: never let me get Boardwalk and Park Place, no matter how sweet I make the deal sound.)
I grew up playing Monopoly and now I’m raising two Monopoly fans. We have the traditional version, a "Star Wars" version, the new electronic banking edition and of course Monopoly on our Apple iOS devices.

The electronic banking version is the newest addition to our collection, and I have to say, I don’t like it. The kids like swiping the cards and the automatic addition and subtraction of funds, but I prefer actually handling the money.  

Even though funds are finite with the Monopoly credit cards, I think there is value in seeing the money spread out in front of you in multiple denominations. From a personal finance perspective, I’ll stick to the original version when using the game as a learning tool.

Cat joins the hat

Meanwhile, in other Monopoly news, the iron is out and the cat is in. Hasbro held an online vote that allowed millions of Monopoly fans to vote out an existing token and vote in a new one. As the voting period neared the end, the iron, wheelbarrow and shoe were at the bottom but ultimately, the public decided to give the iron the boot. The poor relic from the past only received 8 percent of the public’s vote.

The cat was up against a robot, helicopter, guitar and diamond ring. I was partial to the robot but understand the public’s sentiment towards the cat, which won with 31 percent of the vote. Now the original version of the game will have tokens for both cat and dog lovers.

"We know that cat lovers around the world will be happy to welcome the new cat token into the Monopoly game," said Eric Nyman, senior vice president and global brand leader for Hasbro Gaming. "While we're a bit sad to see the iron go, the cat token is a fantastic choice by the fans and we have no doubt it will become just as iconic as the original tokens." (Source: Hasbro)

What say you MNN readers?  Are you sad to see the iron go?

Monopoly helps teach kids about personal finance
Monopoly, which first went on sale on this date in 1935, was my first introduction to the world of personal finance.