Ticket to Ride and Opportunity Costs


What’s up Internet? My name is Ian Bloom. Welcome to Nerd Finance! I’m your resident financial life planner and huge nerd!

In today’s video we are going to be talking about one of my new favorite board games, Ticket to Ride. I know I’m a little behind the 8-ball on this game. This game’s been out for a while and I’ve heard it talked about a lot, but I haven’t really played it. I just knew it was good.

Picture this: Here I am on a vacation with my family that’s going to last seven days. It’s a whole week vacation over the Thanksgiving week. As we get there we realize that Wi-Fi is decent, enough to maybe watch a YouTube video or something, but doesn’t really support extended sessions of gaming or video conferencing – anything that would entertain me and break me out of the family -aden environment. A week is a really good amount of time to spend with family, but you have to do some things that aren’t only family during that week, right? So we went and picked up Ticket to Ride as an opportunity for my brother-in-law, Matt, and myself to entertain ourselves a little. It gave me an idea.

Ticket to Ride is all about Opportunity Costs. Opportunity Costs are something that we talk about a lot in finance. In Ticket to Ride, you are placing your trains over the course of the game. You have the same number of trains as the other player, you have the same random chance of drawing a card that you need to place that train, and your opponent has the same amount of information that you do. The main limiting factor in Ticket to Ride is that you have a certain number of actions you can take on a turn, and that is one. You can do one thing to advance your board state or hurt your opponent’s board state. So, that is an opportunity cost. Everything you do, you could have done the other action.

In finance, it’s the same way. You know how many dollars you are going to be receiving as earnings in a given year – with a few exceptions – bonuses, raises, yadda yadda yada. For the most part, you know exactly what you’re going to be earning that year. You have those dollars with which to advance your future or increase your current happiness. So that is the opportunity cost you are always managing whenever you make a financial decision. The question is how are you going to manage that opportunity cost, right?

In financial life planning, we look at it as this: “Does this action align with my values and the life that I want to be living?” So, does this action either make it more likely that I’ll have the things that I want and need in the future or does this action increase the way that I’m living my life to align it better with my current values today?

There’s a little bit on opportunity costs and Ticket to Ride. If you’re ever going to beat your opponent in Ticket to Ride you have to evaluate exactly which moves you need to make in order to get the most points for yourself while denying your opponent some points. I hope this video was interesting to you and provided some thought-provoking content. If you’d like more of it, obviously you can like, comment, and subscribe or you can find your way over to my website for some other financial tips. Finally, thank you so much for watching. Have a wonderful day!

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