Why You Should Play Chess with Your Finances

Chess; play for position; but expect your opponent to find the best move

I have played chess for years.   There are lessons from chess that apply to planning your finances.  Yes, chess strategy and financial planning have several salient similarities.  Please note, I do not mean to suggest that planning your finances is a game, like chess is.  Rather, I maintain that one should plan one’s finances in the same careful manner that an expert chess player plans his/her game.

A chess player plays to get the best position possible.  The goal is to get a strong position from which an attack can be launched  without compromising the defenses.  It is difficult to launch an attack from a poor position.  Given a poor position; an attack will be vulnerable to a counterattack and/or be too weak to be effective.

A strong player will expect his/her opponent to make the best move and play accordingly.  Traps may be set, but one should never set a weak trap and expect his opponent to make a bad move and fall into it.  Why?  Good players expect their opponent to make the best possible move, and seek a superior position despite that best move.  The player who sets a weak trap will be in an inferior position when his shrewd opponent avoids it.

How can I make the best move with my finances; can I achieve my goals?

Like the chess player, a wise money manager seeks to obtain the best possible position.  She/He visualizes the possibilities and chooses the best possible move(s).  Investments, savings, IRAs, etc. can be viewed with the big picture [position, in chess] in mind.  What would you like to achieve—what are your goals?   One does not want to have a Spartan hold on limiting expenses—but, expenses are a part of finances, so they need to be monitored. 

Like the strong chess player, a skillful money manager will seek to make smart moves.  Should I seek a raise or a transfer to a position that pays better?  How can I minimize expenses, without compromising my lifestyle?  Should I get another job—a second income?  How much more money do I need to be earning?  

In chess, even the best players lose occasionally.  Sometimes, your opponent just makes better moves.  I don’t want to trivialize anything as important as your finances.  I realize that the stakes are much higher in life.  But, in life—as in chess, one may experience a series of events that one cannot prepare for.  Insurance may not cover a major illness or debilitating accident coupled with one’s inability to work. 

In chess, a player positions himself/herself so that he/she can defend strong moves.  Likewise, the wise financier positions himself/herself to deal with all but the most catastrophic of disasters.

What is the best way to prepare yourself financially?

Is it wise to seek to earn more money, to cut spending, or both?  There are a wide variety of factors that determine that.  These factors include: 

  1. Your need for more income versus your time and energy constraints. 
  2. Your tolerance level for reduced spending—a strict budget can be like going on an endless diet—one longs for a hot fudge sundae! 
  3. Your family situation.  Is earning extra money worth spending more time away from your family?
  4. Are there investments that will be profitable—investments that will not take excessive time to monitor?
  5. And of course, there is the question; how critical is your financial situation?  What are your goals?  Can you reach them?

Whether you are playing chess or managing your personal finances, you will want to plan carefully.  Surprisingly many of the principles of chess apply to planning one’s finances.  How do you get the best possible position?  What is the best possible move?  Addressing these questions will help you win— whether you are playing chess or managing your finances.


After reading this article, do you feel the need to earn more money?

The Earn More Spend More Group is a motivational plan designed to help you earn extra money.  It is explained in the Examples section.  If you would like to see how it works—to see how much money you could be earning in four years, test the simulator.  Interested in joining the Earn More Spend More Group?…or do you just want more information.  Either way, I invite you to attend an Informational Meeting.

As always, I am interested in your opinion.  Feel free to leave a comment.

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