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If You Want to Become Wealthy Play Win-Win

Aug 29, 2008
A few years ago, I designed a game to teach people how to master wealth creation. For this, I used the basic Monopoly game but changed the rules somewhat to create a situation that follows the six stages of the Money Program. In my version of Monopoly, in order to win, the players need to negotiate between themselves in order to obtain a complete street before they can build houses and hotels.

Invariably, the players' normal behaviours rise to the surface that demonstrate what situations, and their reactions to them, may be blocking them in real life. At one workshop, we had three games being played simultaneously. At the end of the game, during the de-briefing, I asked one player why her score was so low. She told me that she gave all of her money away because she wanted to help people. I recalled that, at her table, no-one did well because, in their negotiations they blocked each other from obtaining a complete street. I said to her, "If you wanted to help others, why didn't you help them build?" This is exactly what she was doing in real life. Thinking she was helping others, she was providing services to her clients for next to nothing, which was keeping her in poverty. However, her latent fears of scarcity were instrumental in keeping others down as well. If you want to succeed, play win/win.

First, you need to win and then allow others to win also. In my Monopoly game, the players who do best allow others to build their streets, houses and hotels, as well as themselves. They freely negotiate between themselves and trust that even though their neighbour has a lot, it does not mean less for them. It is the belief that we are all competing for scarce resources that keeps us stuck. The truth is: money is in absolute abundance and there is plenty to go around.

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics ("Income and Welfare. Centenary Article - Household income and its distribution", Year Book Australia, 2001, Australian Bureau of Statistics. Similar figures for USA & UK.), we are told:

"Over the course of the twentieth century, the Australian economy grew at an unprecedented level, resulting in rising material prosperity and increasing standards of living. Although the fruits of growth have not been distributed evenly - over time, across regions or between sub-groups of the population - the overall effect has been to raise the average level of economic well-being far above what it was when the century began."

From basic economics, we know that money is not a scarce resource. If it was, economies would never increase or decrease, only the wealth distribution would change. What causes economies to grow is the relative output and productivity of the country. To make more money, we need to increase our productivity and provide goods and services that are required by the community. By adding value to our community, we will prosper. The 1980s' economies around the world were shattered by the illusory prosperity of that decade.

Corporate raiders became super-rich - but only on paper. They added no value, but instead tore up good companies and sold off their assets. It couldn't last and world economies came crashing down at the turn of the decade as a result. The more recent dot.com company demise shattered our stock markets when it became obvious that their profits were just hearsay.

The other reason people fail to obtain wealth is not being ethical. To be ethical, one must always behave in a way that is both supportive to oneself as well as to others. I had a client once who was impossible to help. For several years, he had been stuck in Stage 1, Financial Hardship. When we first started the program, he had been unemployed for some time. I finally convinced him to get a job - anything, as long as he could increase his income. He would get a job, then lose it and go back on the dole. With further encouragement, he would get another job. This time, his back started giving him trouble, so he left. He would get another job, start complaining about his employer, and then leave. This went on and on. I could not encourage him to maintain any employment. Finally, one day when we were talking, he accidentally blurted out that he was angry with his ex-wife and children for leaving him and did not want to increase his income because he would have to pay them maintenance support. There it was - he was being unethical! This man will never become wealthy as long as he keeps himself poor - and keeps his ex-wife and children poor as well.

Being unethical may work for some people. We have all heard lots of stories about wealthy, immoral people. However, for most of us our conscience will prevent us from doing well if we are not doing the right thing by others. Stop lying to your spouse about your finances, cheating on your tax returns, short-changing other people or in any way trying to prevent others from gaining more than you - and watch your own finances improve. It works every time. If you want to become wealthy, ensure that you add value to your community. Your income will grow in direct proportion of the value of the goods and services you provide to your employers, clients or customers. Invest in sound companies that consistently increase their profits through the provision of worthy goods and services. Avoid high-flying, get-rich-quick, shaky schemes that do not profit the overall community. In all of your dealings and ventures, never try to prevent others from also gaining wealth. In this way, you will never fail, you will always prosper and everyone will win.
About the Author
Ann Marosy is an accountant, consultant, and former university lecturer. She was formally a Financial Controller of a Fortune 500 Company, and Finalist of SA Executive Woman of the Year.

Ann is the author of 'The Money Program' book series, which includes managing the stages of wealth creation, formulas for budgeting, debt-free program and investment strategies. Visit: The Home of The Money Program
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