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How Super Mario Brothers Can Make You Rich

by Brandon Turner on July 29, 2012 · 10 comments

learning to make money from playing Super Mario Brothers

Do you remember Super Mario Bros?

Yes, the original Nintendo NES game where Mario speeds through eight worlds (each with four sub-worlds) in an effort to save the princess from the evil king Bowser. This game was a huge part of my life  growing up and I still play it to this day. It took me weeks to beat the game the first time.

The more I played, the more shortcuts I learned and better I became (remember the unlimited life hack in level three or warping from level four to level eight?) Today, I can beat the entire game in less than eight minutes without losing a single life, and I’m sure there are people out there who can do it faster than that.

How is it possible to beat a game in eight minutes that once took days or even weeks? Mario is not the only game like this. There are probably games in your life that you find you can cruise through in no time (someday I’ll tell you about my twelve minute Monopoly game…)

There is a secret to most games that also can be applied to your own financial life. This secret will not only help you beat Super Mario Bros in just minutes, but will almost guarantee to make you rich. What is that secret?

The Game Never Changes.

The reason I can Beat Super Mario Bros in just minutes instead of days is actually no secret at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of a secret: It’s a pattern.

The mushroom guys came at the same time and at the same place. The levels progressed in logical order, and the shortcuts were always there. The reason I could beat the game so quickly is because I memorized the patterns. I learned the rules, and I learned how to exploit them to get me to the end as soon as possible.

Learning to master the game of Super Mario Bros is like learning to master the world of building wealth. The game never changes. Yes, there are ups and downs in the market but the fundamentals do not change. As long as a person sticks to those fundamentals, getting to the end is not only possible but almost inevitable.

The only time I “die” anymore when I play Mario Bros is when I try to get fancy. I want to explore those levels I have never explored before, or try to play a level with my eyes shut (yes, I’ve tried). However, when I decide to stick to the pattern I’ve learned and mastered I can cruise through the game without losing a single life, rack up tons of “extra guys,” and save the princess from the clutches of the evil King Bowser.

The Rules of the Game

This is exactly the same concept when trying to build wealth and especially when investing in real estate. A good friend of mine is fond of saying, “If it’s new, its not true and if it’s true it’s not new.” I think this is especially applicable to building wealth and investing.

Following a basic plan will get you to the end because the plan works and never changes. The pattern is always the same. Yes, our world changes continually and we need to be careful to adapt based on it. However, the principles do not change.

This article’s intent is not to define all those principles, as they are clearly written day after day on the BiggerPockets Blog and by listening to the advice of the professionals who have come before. However, a few examples of what I’m referring to include:

  • Living within your means
  • Buying assets that produce income (cash flow positive properties),
  • Staying out of (or paying off) debt
  • Simply saving money for unforeseen circumstances,
  • Reinvesting profits back into your investments.

Building wealth is not rocket science. I believe by simply following timeless principles of real estate investing you can achieve the wealth and security you long for. It is important, therefore, to learn the pattern and follow that pattern to the end. It may not be as exciting as playing Super Mario Bros with your eyes shut – but saving the princess and winning the game is worth every second.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Dorkin July 29, 2012 at 8:03 am

Yes — I’ll admit, I was equally as addicted as you were. And anyone from our generation who would say otherwise is probably just not being completely truthful with themselves. What a game!

That said, this is a fantastic post, Brandon. Seriously, well put. Thanks for allowing me to temporarily re-live some of the good old days.


Brandon Turner July 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Thanks Josh :) Anytime! (Sorry, but the Princess is in another castle)


Joel Owens July 29, 2012 at 9:31 am

Yes I was addicted to NES as a child!!

I was one of the best game players ever.I would go to the video store and the guy would have a deal that if you rent 2 or 3 you would get 1 free.

You had to return them in 2 to 3 days.At the end of the time I would have beaten all of the games or 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4.They all had a similar them just a different story and graphics.Only a few would change from that and be really hard.I would beat those the next rental time around.

You didn’t talk about the minus worlds………………. :)


Brandon Turner July 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Ah the minus worlds! Hmmmm – how to make them an analogy for real estate investing…

I use to do the same at my local grocery store. Good times. Thanks for the comment!


Jason Grote July 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Brandon, i love it! I grew up with Super Mario and now my 5 year old son is a Mario master! Great analogy… There is nothing new under the sun! If we can just get that to stick in our brains…


Brandon Turner July 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Exactly. It’s so tempting to want to get fancy because growing wealthy can be boring because it takes a while. I’m going to hook my kids on good old NES someday (when I get kids, that is!)


Tiffany July 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I saw the title of this via a Bigger Pockets “previous article” link. I thought, that must have been a young writing that. Then I clicked and was amused (but not surprised) to see it was written by Brandon of REI in Your 20s! Thanks for the reminder that things get easier with practice and repetition.


Brandon Turner July 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thanks Tiffany! Yeah, I gotta represent my generation in this world of old guys! ;) wink!


Shane August 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I thought I had mario mastered, I can beat it in about 10 minutes with 2 lives (I always die somewhere)…but I never did master that silly world 3 extra lives thing. Tried it hundreds of times & only got it right once…and what did I miss with minus worlds?

Tidbits like this keep me inspired and determined to follow the well beaten path to financial freedom through real estate :)


Brandon Turner August 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

My brothers and I would spend hours mastering that level three life trick. It’s all about getting the jump just right ;)

Thanks Shane for the comment!


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