Six retirement lessons to learn from Monopoly

Posted on May 17, 2017

Retirement and Monopoly have more in common than you think! Here are six retirement lessons you can learn from the classic board game:

1. Know where you’re going.

Monopoly has a clear objective — to win. It can help to think of retirement in the same terms so that you can develop a long-term plan for success.

First, identify your retirement goals, such as your target retirement date and how you want to spend your time, taking into account both your financial and emotional happiness.

Once you determine your goals, you can lay out a roadmap to help you avoid detours and potholes.

2. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

You probably won’t win Monopoly if you own only one property or if you spread your resources too thin by buying every property you land on. To outplay your opponents, you must strategically allocate your assets and create multiple revenue streams.

TCDRS provides you with a secure benefit for life, so you’re already far ahead of 38% of U.S. workers who haven’t saved anything at all. You can estimate your TCDRS benefit at or by calling TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.

However, you will probably need additional sources of retirement income, such as Social Security, personal investments, other retirement accounts and part-time wages.

3. Focus on cash flow.

Monopoly champions avoid bankruptcy by balancing their income and expenses to ensure adequate cash flow — and that’s precisely what you need to do in retirement.

Estimate the money you will have coming in and going out at your target retirement date, factoring in inflation, which reduces buying power. If you retired at your current target date, would you have enough money to live comfortably and achieve your retirement goals?

4. Be prepared for emergencies.

As every good Monopoly player knows, you also need to plan for the unexpected, since you never know what a Chance or Community Chest card will throw at you.

In real life, your car could break down. You might need to financially support your adult child or raise grandchildren. You may become disabled and unable to work part-time. You can stay out of debt by maintaining a healthy emergency fund.

You should also name at least one TCDRS beneficiary and Power of Attorney (POA). TCDRS distributes benefits according to paperwork on file, not Wills. You can update your TCDRS beneficiary at and designate a POA for just your TCDRS account by faxing in form TCDRS-67.

Make sure that you’re prepared for anything life throws at you or your loved ones.

5. Be patient.

To win Monopoly, you must have patience and the same is true for workers considering retirement. Once you know where you want to go and what it will take to get there, you have to know when to actually pass “Go” and collect your retirement benefit.

Being eligible for retirement doesn’t mean you are ready. Working longer can have significant financial and emotional benefits, so be sure to consider all of your options before ending your employment.

6. Focus on relationships.

Monopoly champions make a habit of swapping properties and negotiating with other players. In retirement, too, it’s important to maintain meaningful relationships. Stay in touch with friends and family, participate in volunteer and hobby-based groups that resonate with your interests and remember that TCDRS is always here to help.

If you have questions at any point during the retirement process, we make many useful resources available on our website and TCDRS Member Services is only a phone call away at 800-823-7782.

You can also connect with us and fellow members and retirees through our newsletters and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And remember — even Monopoly pieces retire, so you’ll be in great company.

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