Personal Finance Lessons from Online Adventure Game (RuneScape)
A friend shared with me some strategies he's learned for playing RuneScape. It's set in the medieval times, and involves creating a character, building skill levels, acquiring assets, and completing quests. There can be quite a bit of interaction among players: some are friendly and helpful; others, dangerous and dishonest. Can these strategies be applied to personal finance? Let's see. (See also: 21 Personal Finance Lessons From Harry Potter)
Friend: “Be Patient. When you start playing, you have no money, no armor, no experience, and no idea where you are. You think RuneScape is just a dumb Internet game. It takes patience to learn.”
Also be patient in building wealth. When you are getting started, you (likely) have no money, no assets, and no experience with managing a career, saving, and investing.
Friend: “When you get ready to sell an item, always have the lowest price you'll take in mind. But when you meet a buyer, never say the price. Ask for an offer. If they don't know what to offer, say the lowest price you would accept or higher."
He once had something that he wanted to sell for $10K but accepted an offer for $595K. Later, he found out that the real cost was $800K.
Friend: "For whatever item you want to buy, figure out the cost to make sure you don't get ripped off."
The same logic can be applied to real estate and equity investments: just because an item is useful (a company is sound, the real estate looks solid), don't buy or sell until you know the market price.
Friend: "If you buy new armor and you already have adamant armor and want to get rune armor, go to the shop and buy rune armor and sell your adamant armor. That way, it doesn't look like you lost that much money." (Note that rune is an upgraded material from adamant).
There are two lessons here: 1) pay attention to cash flow and 2) disposing of unneeded inventory makes it less costly to trade up and/or acquire new items.
Friend: “There is no such thing as being too careful, especially when you are going to new places. Store all your items in the bank, explore first and see what you will need before going back. Then bring just what you need.”
Can you be too careful? Doesn't greater risk = greater reward? Yes, but you can make sure you understand a personal finance idea (an investment or a financial product) before buying. It makes sense to check things out first before making a decision.