Is it Time to Retire Yet?

January 13, 2012

Those of you who read my post earlier this week about playing “The Game of Life” with Emma and Ethan may be wondering who won the game and if there were any other “train wrecks” along the path to retirement. So I thought I’d give you The Game of Life, Part II because the trip around the second half of the game board had some interesting twists and turns too.

So after Emma and Ethan both decided to go back to school and get better paying jobs (and more expensive houses) they then proceeded to have to learn about some of the other “fun” things in life such as paying taxes, having kids and gambling. 

Yes, I said gambling

I guess it’s really supposed to be more like “investing”, but to Fred and Ethel (aka: Emma and Ethan) it was gambling.  Surprisingly, this was probably their favorite part of the game.  It’s called Spin to Win and you can bet (I mean “invest”) up to $50,000. You then put your token on the number strip on your “lucky number” and if the spinner lands on that number then you “win” 10 times the amount you invested. But if it doesn’t then you lose the money you invested.  

Well, with all the cheering and squealing you would have thought we were in Vegas.  

Ethan would plunk down $50,000 each time, “I’m betting it all baby!  Let’s win big!!! C’mon four … my lucky number is gonna be 4!”

I can just see them at 70 puttering around the slot machines in Vegas together arguing over who has won more money and which buffet they want to go to for dinner.

They both took “The Risky Path” which has more opportunities to play Spin to Win.  They each won a few times which made them very happy. But, they also lost a few times and found that was not nearly as fun.

One time when Emma lost and had bet $50,000 she grabbed her money back and said, “WAIT!  I changed my mind.  I meant to only bet $5,000.”  Nice try Emma.

They both had gotten married earlier in the game, even though Emma said she would have been content to just live with her cats in the $800,000 mansion she bought.  “I like cats because they are so cuddly and I can dress them up in baby clothes …. a husband won’t let you do that!” 

Ethan had several kids but they kept falling out of his car. “Man! These kids are a lot of work.  They just won’t stay in their seats and I have to keep picking them up off the street.  I hope when I have kids in real life they are better behaved than this.” Then he added, “They better be … otherwise I’m sending them to Grandma’s and she can deal with them.” 

“And you said I was the train wreck!” Emma said with a smirk

Eventually Emma and Ethan both started to get bored with the game. I, on the other hand, was finding it highly entertaining.

“Mom, is the game almost over?” Ethan asked, “I’m getting tired of playing.”

“We are almost through. We just have to get over here and we can retire and then count our money and see who won” I explained as I showed them the end of the path of Life. “You can retire at Millionaire Estates or at Countryside Acres.”

“I want to retire at Millionaire Estates.” said Ethan

“Me too!” Emma chimed in

“I wonder how old you have to be to retire.” Ethan whispered to Emma, “Do you think Mom is going to retire soon?”

They both looked up at me and then back at each other. Emma shrugged her shoulders and whispered back, “I think you have to be even older than Mom to retire.”

We kept on winding through the twisting road of Life inching nearer and nearer to retirement.

Taxes were paid by Ethan while Emma got a refund.  Ethan pounded the table, “That’s not fair!” he protested. “Why does she GET money and I have to PAY money!”

To which I replied with a quote I heard often growing up, “Life’s not fair, get used to it!”

Emma and Ethan both retired at Millionaire Estates just like they had planned and I decided to retire at Countryside Acres.

We counted our money and Life tiles and totaled up everyone’s net worth. 

And the winner is …. (drum roll please) …. ETHAN!

“Awesome!” he shouted excitedly

Emma came up and gave him a high-five.

“Great job!” she congratulated him, “But, next time … next time … you are going DOWN!”

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The Game of Life

January 10, 2012

“You wanna play ‘Life’?” Emma asked. 

I looked up and saw her standing there with the box wrapped tightly in her arms and a sweet smile on her face.  She knows I can’t resist her big brown eyes and precious smile – yeah, Mom is a push-over.   

I agreed and we started setting up the game.  Ethan came into the room and wanted to play too so we gave him a little car with a blue peg in the driver seat.  He drove the car all over the table while making a “Vroom … Vroom” car noise along with a few screeches and peel-outs thrown in.

He looked up at me and said with excitement, “I can hardly wait until I have a car and I can drive! I am going to drive so FAST! Won’t that be so fun Mom?”

 I was shaking my head and nervously picturing Ethan as a teenager, “Oh, yeah – that will be FUN… maybe Daddy will teach you how to drive.” I don’t think Mommy’s nerves would be able to handle that much “fun”!

So once we had all the pieces set up and the money distributed we began to play the game. I had thought this might be a good learning experience for the kids about money, career and “real” life but as the game went along I began to doubt that logic. 

Emma and Ethan both decided to take the “Start a Career” path while I took the “Start College” path. 

“Why are you going that way Mom?” asked Ethan “Not me! I want to take the short cut and start making MONEY!” 

Emma chimed in and said, “Me too! And get married and have lots of babies!”

Emma’s career of choice was a hairdresser and she picked a mobile home for her starter home. She wanted to be a veterinarian, but I explained that she would have had to go to college for that career.

“Well, that’s silly” she said, “I don’t see why I would need to go to college for that. I LOVE animals and I know lots of stuff about them.”

She eventually decided to settle on being a hairdresser and I told her that maybe she could have a few cats in her mobile home with her.

“Yeah, I think I’ll just do that.  I’m gonna have LOTS and LOTS of CATS!! Maybe I don’t need a husband or kids. Maybe I’ll just have cats!”

Ethan chose to be a athlete and live in a $100,000 condo.  I could tell from his excitement and the sparkle in his eyes that he thought he was going to be the next Peyton Manning.

 

“This is going to be so AWESOME !!! I am going to have a cool red sports car and a hot tub and a big screen TV and lots of hot babes to hang out with!”  He looked over at me and added, “But you can come visit too!”

Once I finally got through the college path and graduated I became a doctor and choose a nice $140,000 ranch style starter home. In the beginning of the game I had to borrow $100,000 for college loans so at this point in the game Emma and Ethan were both much “richer” than their dear old Mom and they found this quite entertaining.

“Wow Mom! Look how much more money I have than you!” Ethan pointed out

Later in the game Emma and Ethan came to the point in the game where they could choose to go back to school and get a college degree and a higher paying career. Surprisingly, they both choose to do this and so Emma’s new career was a veterinarian and Ethan choose to be a lawyer. 

“Better watch out Emma!  I’m a lawyer like Grandpa Brock now so I can sue you if you aren’t nice to me or if you break the law!”

“I won’t bother you Ethan. I will be busy saving animals and taking care of my cats.” Emma said seemly slightly annoyed by her brother.

Since they now had better jobs, Emma decided she wanted a new house. She looked through the cards carefully weighing her options.

“I want this one!” she said excitedly waving the card with the $800,000 mansion on it.

“Are you sure?” I asked “That costs a lot of money Emma. It’s more than you have so you will have to take out a pretty big loan to buy it.

“That’s OK! It will be nice and big and have lots of room for me and my cats.  Oh, and probably room for my husband and our twins too”

Emma had to use ALL her money plus she borrowed $300,000 from the bank but she got her dream home … an $800,000 Mansion!  

As I was counting out the large pile of promissory notes Ethan looked over at Emma, rolled his eyes and said “Emma! You’re a train wreck!”