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Monopoly and Life Insurance

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What You Need to Know

  • Hasbro says it's getting rid of the card for winning a beauty contest.
  • It's also getting rid of the card for life insurance maturing.
  • The pandemic has another message: Financial preparedness matters.

Many families will remember gathering for rousing — and sometimes seemingly endless — games of Monopoly. From being the first to stake a claim on Park Place to reaping the gains of an unexpected windfall from the Community Chest, people of all ages have been exposed to Monopoly’s model for asset accumulation for more than 85 years. In early 2021, Monopoly’s parent, Hasbro, announced that it would update the Community Chest cards to better reflect the ways in which the meaning of community has changed. Hasbro will do away with cards such as winning second place in a beauty contest and life insurance maturing.

While some fans of the game will likely be thrilled to say goodbye to beauty contests, they shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the heart of a sound financial strategy.

In a game like Monopoly, young players learn about saving, investing and risk — and adults have the chance to talk with them about how these different elements of the game may play out in real life. By removing life insurance from the game entirely, players miss out on an opportunity to learn about how life insurance can be an important part of an overall financial strategy and help people plan for a more certain future.

At its core, life insurance is protection — a hedge against the unexpected. A death benefit from a life insurance policy can replace income from the loss of a breadwinner, ensure a family can stay in their home, fund educational expenses and so much more. Although Monopoly positions life insurance as almost an afterthought, constructing a long-term financial strategy with protection at the core is critical.

Beginning with a protection-first approach essentially takes risk off the table.  As families prepare for the future, they should consider the benefits of planning for a sudden loss.  By doing so, families can begin to think much more expansively about their financial futures and their mindset can shift from “what will they do if something happens to me?” to “how can we grow our wealth and leave something for the next generation?”

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This especially rings true when we consider the recent pandemic and how it has highlighted the importance of financial preparedness and having a plan in place to preserve the wellbeing of families and communities in times of uncertainty and upheaval.

Beyond allowing families to see new opportunities in their financial lives, this approach enables financial professionals to serve a range of client needs beyond protection, including investments, business solutions and legacy planning. It’s a shift that not only safeguards financial futures and creates long-term client relationships, but one that families expect. In fact, a 2019 report from Cerulli Associates found that 49% of affluent investors would prefer to go to a single resource or company for most of their financial needs as would the majority of investors under age 30 (66%.)

Despite the peace of mind that a life insurance policy can offer, just 52% of U.S. adults report having life insurance coverage, down from 54% in 2020, and one in four (39%) report individual life insurance ownership (beyond what may be available through the workplace) according to the LIMRA and Life Happens Insurance Barometer Study. This same study found that just 47% of women have life insurance coverage, versus 58% of men, despite more that 70% of households relying on a woman’s income for financial security.

We know that no one is immune to unforeseen events and unfortunately there’s no financial “get out of jail free” card waiting in the Community Chest for us. Despite Hasbro’s intent to eliminate what it deems an outdated life insurance card for future editions of Monopoly, financial professionals must not erase this core component of clients’ financial strategies from their toolbox and must not undervalue the importance of a protection-first approach.


Aaron BallAaron Ball is senior vice president, head of insurance solutions, service and marketing, at New York Life Insurance Company.

(Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)