What’s the aim of the game?
The game has two parts. The first part represented by the circle in the middle is called the Rat Race, which is also where the most learning happens. The aim here is to get your passive income to be more than your total expenses.
The idea behind this is that once you’ve reached this stage, you no longer have to work in order to earn money and maintain your lifestyle because your assets are generating regular income for you. That’s when you can get to the second part of the game, the Fast Track. I won’t talk too much about it since it gets a little boring once you’re on the Fast Track.
There are two ways that you can work towards getting out of the Rat Race and winning the first part of the game: (1) increasing your passive income and (2) reducing your expenses. The game has a handy tracker to show your progress (and financial statements that provide more detail).
Increasing your passive income
You start the game with $0 in passive income. The word ‘passive’ simply suggests that you’re not actively doing any work for the money to flow in, unlike your job where you trade time for money (salary) and no work = no income.
Throughout the game, you will have the opportunity to buy assets that generate positive cash flow on a regular basis. This provides you with passive income.
Some examples of assets you can buy include stocks, property, businesses and gold.
Note that NOT ALL assets will provide passive income. For example, buying stocks does not generate any positive cash flow on a regular basis (i.e. you’re not earning any money from simply holding on to them).
You CAN buy stocks and hold onto them until you are able to sell them for a higher price later, but that is not passive income because there is no REGULAR flow of money.* Once you sell them, it is just a ONE-OFF gain in cash that you’re able to use to invest in other assets.
*Note: In real life, you CAN earn passive income from stocks through dividends, but this game simplifies it and there are no dividends for any of the stocks. Dividends are basically regular payments of cash to shareholders – the companies you invest in can decide whether or not they wish to issue dividends.
Meanwhile, buying a property usually results in some positive cash flow (presumably from renting it out while you own it) although there are some opportunities where there is zero or negative cash flow (i.e. it is unprofitable to hold the property). This is in addition to the money that you can gain upon SELLING the property (a one-off gain).
To be clear: there is a difference between passive income (ongoing positive cash flow whilst HOLDING ON TO the asset) and the one-off gain that you can get from SELLING the asset. When you sell the asset, you also give up the cash flow that it provided whilst you owned it.
Reducing your expenses
You start the game with some liabilities. These are amounts that you owe.
These amounts contribute to corresponding monthly expenses.
Related: Find out how to use the financial statements.
You can’t do much about the taxes and other expenses, but you do have control over the other payments. If you have enough cash, each turn you have an opportunity to repay your debts. For example, if you had $4,000 you could pay off your credit card debt (liability) and get rid of the corresponding $120 monthly expense.
It’s a good idea to keep checking your tracker to see how far you are from your goal. Sometimes, you can reach it just by paying off debt rather than waiting for an opportunity to increase your passive income.
This should be enough for you to start experimenting with the game. There is still lots that you can learn as you go. If you want to understand the nitty-gritty details of the aspects of the game, you can keep reading on.