The Game Of Money

If you've been wondering why you just can't get ahead, it could be that you need to discover how the 'Game Of Money' is really played.

At the tender age of thirty-five, I discovered how money really works. 

By thirty-eight I had it confirmed that the ‘Game Of Money’ I’d heard about in books was actually real.  By learning and then playing that game, among other things, I was able to launch a successful coaching / training business and buy and renovate a half-million pound, twelve bedroom hotel in Sussex ‘no money down’ with barely a penny to my name at the time.  Other successes followed within a short couple of years.

One memorable day in April 2003 a letter arrived from the Nat West Bank offering me a loan of £300,000 to buy, renovate and run a dilapidated bed & breakfast in Worthing, West Sussex.  On the same day, a letter arrived from Virgin Finance turning me down for a £1200 credit card.

When I told this story to my bank manager, after the loan was firmly in my bank account and being spent on renovations, he said ‘Nicola, welcome to the ‘Game Of Money’.  You have just gone up a level’. 

Nicola Cairncross is the author of ‘The Money Gym’ a ‘financial intelligence’ book, podcast and mentoring company. Born the eldest of four, in a working class poor family in Worthing, West Sussex, her grandmother was a ‘char’ and grandad a market gardener while her mother struggled with paranoid schizophrenia.  After years of just barely scraping by, Nicola finally learned how the ‘Game Of Money’ works and has always been fascinated by how money works and, more importantly, why it doesn’t work for many people.  Now semi-retired and living in Brighton, Nicola trades crypto, mentors entrepreneurs and writes for fun.

Finding The Game Of Money

Up to the age of thirty-five I’d been absolutely clueless that the ‘Game’ even existed, I hadn’t stumbled on it accidentally.  I’d heard hints in books and I’d been working towards its discovery in incremental steps.  The problem is that there are no evening classes and no road signs!  

Nobody in my family knew there even was a Game, being firmly ‘working class’.  Uncle Brian might have had a glimmer, as he had owned his own businesses all his life, but if he knew he was playing the ‘Game Of Money’, he certainly never shared that with anyone else.

No, I was on my own.  Then, after years of grinding poverty, false starts and failure, much soul-searching and reading, I’d had an epiphany at the age of thirty-five and pregnant with my second child, after my husband was made redundant for the third time that year.

The revelation was that it was not ME that was the problem.  I was not fatally flawed in some way, incapable of succeeding no matter how hard I tried.  No, it was that I simply didn’t know what I needed to know in order to become successful (which to me and many others, means financially successful).  

I realised that, if you accept that a similar woman, same age, 5’7”, brown hair, similar IQ and education perhaps, could become a multi-millionaire, then so could I.  But only if I knew what she knew.

What I didn’t know at that time was that I was also fighting a system, that had its tentacles everywhere, invisible though it was.  Looking back to the younger, naive me, I’m glad I didn’t know about the system, because I would possibly never have got started, never even tried.  I would certainly not ended up here, now, with the knowledge I need to work with the system and teach others how it works and how you can work within it.  Never has that knowledge been more needed than now.

I embarked on a mission to learn the things I thought I needed to know, to crack ‘this money thing’.  I started reading book after book, on personal effectiveness, on business, investing, including many biographies of successful, wealthy people. I talked to everyone I came across about success and wealth creation, quizzing friends and people I worked with, particularly self-made business people and successful investors.  

I looked for ‘just one thing’ in each book, one thing that would move me forward, add to my knowledge of ‘The Money Game’.

The accidental short-term outcome of this journey was that I landed a dream job, at a better salary than I’d ever earned before (with performance bonuses too!) reporting directly for an inspirational man, Bennie Gray of The Space Organisation in London, who was to become quite a mentor of mine.

Why You Need To Play

Like it or not, at this moment in human evolution, we all need to earn or make money to live. We need shelter, clothes, food, entertainment and love – not necessarily in that order – to have a comfortable life.  

Earning money is when you are contracted to turn up for a certain number of hours, to achieve a specific outcome for someone else and you earn a fixed, pre-agreed sum of money.  Making money is when we either create goods or services to sell, provide a service or trade goods or services, but we remain independent in terms of time and have the freedom to change our prices at will. 

The former carries a degree of perceived security, although as you are dependent on one source for your income, one could argue that security is illusory. The latter is riskier, as it depends much more on you, your skills and your efforts, but at least you are not dependent on one income source.

The only way you can break out of either of these two treadmills is by moving to the right-hand side of what Robert Kiyosaki called ‘The Cashflow Quadrant’ in his seminal book about money ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’.

The Hidden Handicaps

We all start out on a pretty level playing field when born.  We are naked, we have intellectual potential and hidden talents, so as long as we are fed and looked after to a certain degree we arrive at the age of four, pretty much neck and neck.  Some of us may be able to read already, some might be super bright but not reading yet.  As I say, we may have a hidden talent but it is just that for now, hidden.

But as soon as we go to school we acquire our first handicap.  I’m not going to compare all the handicaps and benefits of schools here, emotional or otherwise, I’d be here all day.  For this article, I’m just going to focus on the ‘Game Of Money’ elements.

A child going to a private school is now streaking ahead of a child in a state school.  It’s just a numbers game, if you get more personal attention, you’ll do better than if you have to compete with thirty plus others for that same slice of attention. 

Also, while the more ‘privileged’ child may have a horrible emotional home life, they are still being brought up to expect more from life, they have higher performance expectations placed upon them and are more likely to have a parent or relative who can mentor them in how the ‘Game Of Money’ works.  They will probably not know the meaning of the word ‘scarcity’ as they come from a background where there is none.  Constantly hearing the words ‘We can’t afford it” is a major handicap.

All is not lost for the state school attendee though, they may come from a home with a great work ethic that values learning and they may be curious, independent, talented in one topic or skill that, with the required ten thousand hours of practice, they can use to rise to the top.  A teacher may take them under the wing, as my English teacher Miss Rowland did and that may help to bolster low self-esteem.

Levels Of The Game

I’ve been up and down the different levels of the ‘Game Of Money’ several times.  There are four main levels but there are sub-levels. I’ll lay them out in a minute. I’ve zigzagged between Level 1 and Level 2 before graduating to Level 3 & 4.

The first level is Employee, where you trade your time and freedom for a set amount of money each week or month.

The second level is Executive, where you get into a management position that may be more skilled, so you have a small amount of negotiating power when it comes to your salary, bonuses (if any) and the time you spend in the office.  

Next comes the Freelancer / Skilled Trades Level.  These people are often self-employed, which brings some freedom about fees charged, hours worked and you start to see some ‘Game Of Money’ benefits that Employees, at whatever level, don’t even know about, let alone employ.  I’m going to start an super-affordable subscription level in here where I lay those out in more detail.

However, if you don’t work you don’t earn.  Even if you have help, if something happens to you, your income dries up.  

Your success at this level also requires other skills, such as marketing, good organisation and you may need to rely on third party ‘professionals’ such as accountants and solicitors, who sadly often let you down.  You must delegate, but not abdicate responsibility here, according to Robert Kiyosaki.  You need to reach the next level as soon as possible and become a business owner. This requires the acquisition of a whole other set of skills, which many Freelancer / Tradie does not enjoy or want to learn.

When you reach the Business Owner level, you are more like the conductor of the orchestra, where you oversee everything but you don’t ‘do’ the work of the business yourself.  More employees or third party suppliers are required but if you can weather the early days and keep happy customers coming into your business, with money you can fix most things. 

You should be regularly taking profits out of the business, on top of your salary, to take you to the next level of the ‘Game Of Money’, that of investor, because if you don’t take those profits out and invest them, they won’t be there if your business needs them later on.  A very high proportion of businesses fail, 95% in the first year, which is why there are many benefits of owning a business, not least of which are tax advantages for both business and owner.  There has to be an incentive for taking on the higher risk of being a business owner, or nobody would do it.

At this level, Investors take inherited or earned money and invest in assets that either grow in value or produce an income, ideally both.  If they surround themselves with other investors, they will have access to layers of knowledge that a simple business owner never discovers, unless they have a Mentor.  

Assets increase in value in long predictable cycles (see resources for this article for a video on this) and at the Investor level, you need to educate yourself about how those cycles work, because it really makes a difference over the years.  There are also hidden pitfalls, which can trap the unwary investor and cause you to skid right back down the lower levels. 

The Elite Level is one that few people see, much less join.  It used to be called “Aristocrats” and that included royalty, earls, dukes, duchesses, lords ladies, etc. It also includes the people calling the shots in Socialist or Communist countries. You are either born into the Elites, with hundreds of years of inherited wealth or you join by way of making so much money, they let you in.  However, look into the family tree of many apparently self-made entrepreneur billionaires (or the people they marry), and you will find astonishingly familiar family connections that go back to the families that have made up the Elites over many hundreds of years.

Game Mentors

If you have a spark of life about you, if you are curious and engaged and ask lots of questions of every successful person you meet, you may also gain a mentor, be it a teacher, relative or someone who has been successful in business or investing you meet along the way.  

One of my first mentors was the Doctor whose evening surgery I regularly created chaos in, as a receptionist.  The patients loved me and the Doctor found me amusing but we found out later I am mildly dyslexic so the filing cabinet for patients notes was erratic to say the least.  He had old money but was a successful property investor in his own right, who had also married a wealthy French woman. He divided his time between Worthing in Sussex and Monaco, South of France!

I’ve been lucky enough to attract many mentors in my life, they really do appear just as the student is ready and the right mentor can help you jump levels in the Game, while avoiding the pitfalls they know about or even fell into.

As you reach new levels, the Mentor can also warn you about the potential harms the Trolls & Bad Actors can hurl at you and I’ll talk about those more below.

Your Inner Game

In my years of mentoring thousands of people after writing my book ‘The Money Gym,’ I’ve noticed that there are two main things that stop people from succeeding in the ‘Game of Money’ even once they have discovered it.

Many people suffer from self-esteem issues, particularly creative people.  These are psychic wounds inflicted by many different sources as children, and this low self-esteem prevents them from being able to earn well, charge what they are worth and actually feel deserving of any wealth they accumulate.

If every attempt you make to improve your financial situation fails, you need to look inside.  I cover this in great depth in my book ‘The Money Gym’ and I speak from experience as I suffered from every single mental hurdle possible.  I had to examine and then work to discard them, one by one.  

You will have limiting beliefs about how things work and your own possibility of success.  You will have negative beliefs about rich people and wealth creation.  Financial crisis after crisis will hit you and because you don’t have any savings, you’ll have to start from scratch.  You’ll go into debt and then be locked into the negative death spiral of compound interest. 

If you don’t believe you are ‘worth it’ deep down, you won’t hold onto your money, you’ll pay everyone else first and you’ll never save for a rainy day, or accumulate enough capital to start investing – the only route out of the lower levels of the Game. 

The second thing that stops people is prevarication.  Often discussed as a desire for perfection or doing things right, it’s actually the old ‘fight, freeze or fight’ instincts rooting you to the spot.  Your need to be ‘safe’ will keep you from making decisions, because of the fear of making the wrong decision.  Any decision can be corrected, but to move forward, you will need to make decisions, in order to get concrete feedback from the market about your products, services and prices.  The only feedback that counts is someone buying your thing.

Trolls Of The Game

As with any game, there are Bad Actors and Trolls. The Trolls are the herd, those crabs in the bucket who are so terrified of being different or of taking risk that they would pull the crab trying to escape back down again.  They are those who swallow the lies, take all their info from the TV or state-owned radio, who look down on poor people as being somehow less, who judge people who sell the Big Issue saying ‘They get dropped off in a Merc every day’.  Those who judge the guy who plays a snatch of jazz on a recorder as you walk past to scrape the pennies together to buy their dog food for the day saying ‘He shouldn’t have a dog if he’s homeless!’. They are those who buy a sandwich for a homeless person saying “They’ll spend it on drugs or booze!” rather than giving them the money and the dignity to choose their own sandwich.

Many of those Trolls come from a good place, they are trying to keep you safe, they are trying to keep everyone safe. But it’s going too far now.  Trolls include those who seek to cancel people who speak out, who tell stories, who make people laugh.  The Trolls believe in ‘equal outcomes’ not ‘equal opportunities’ and who don’t realise that the former cannot be forced on someone,  the latter only offered.

The Bad Actors are those who definitely look on the people below them, calling them ‘Useless Eaters’.  They are members of the Elites (they were called The Aristocracy in the olden days), or their puppets in Governments.  They are the people who rigged their financial system in the first place so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  I don’t think this has ever been so completely obvious as during the Covid (so-called) Pandemic.  The scales have come off the eyes of millions of people, as the outright corruption has been revealed.  Not every Elite is a Bad Actor but they have their own position to protect so none of them are coming to save us.

There’s another Bad Actor too, who is about to be unleashed again and it is called Inflation.  Inflation works great for the rich, constantly driving up the value of their assets and driving down the cost of their borrowings.  Inflation invisibly taxes the poor – on top of all the other taxes – who have no idea how it works.  Inflation sneaks about, wearing a coat labelled 0-2%, whereas if you stopped for a minute and took a closer look at the things in the basket of goods it carries around, you would find that if you added into that basket the things that the poor and middle classes actually have to pay for out of their post-tax income, Inflation’s coat should say 10-20%.

It’s become very obvious during the Pandemic that the ‘Cantillon Effect’ is alive and well.  This is where the people who are closest to the source of the money benefit most from its creation and distribution.  Banks get money from Government but don’t loan it on, because loans are assets to the bank when created but swiftly become liabilities when they can’t be repaid.

One only has to look at the multi-billion contracts given out to the cronies of the ruling elites globally, often to companies that are in no way specialists in the goods and services supplied, while the real specialists were frozen out of the tendering system.  

While I write this article, in July 2021, 1.7 million people per week are being told to isolate in the UK by an App that allegedly cost 37 Billion to create.  This boggles my mind because the most effective and sophisticated Apps never cost this much in the history of technology.  And it STILL doesn’t work properly.

Unless you are born into the Elite Class, only the outliers stand a chance of ascending the rungs of the ladder.  Unless you are blessed with world-class beauty, an innate talent for a sport, acting, singing or music, storytelling, inventing, maths, or those entrepreneurs among us who discover there is a ‘Money Game’ then gain knowledge about how the game is played, you don’t stand a chance.

And as you ascend those rungs of the ladder, you discover the compromises you may need to make to keep your newfound wealth. 

That is an article for another author, a much braver one, but rest assured, you need to keep your mouth shut and your nose clean on the way up, or any transgressions will be used against you in a most unpleasant way.

These Bad Actors and Trolls play dirty.  Dirty like you wouldn’t believe.

Tools Of The Game

I bet you are wondering how to get started playing ‘The Game Of Money’ now, right? 

Well, here it is, laid out in all its glorious simplicity.  Don’t be deceived though, just because it will look simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.  

Once you have got your costs covered, what you need to start the ‘Game’ is some capital.  Either you’ll save it up from your excess earnings, or you might be lucky enough to be left some money.  This is called ‘generational wealth’ in the Game.  

Capital just means money available for investments.  You’ll invest in assets, either assets that pay you to own them or assets that appreciate in value over time.  Those assets must appreciate at a faster rate per year than Inflation can take your money away from you.

Here’s one of the hidden secrets of ‘The Game Of Money’. 

The earnings from your assets or the appreciation in the value of those assets enable you to borrow to invest in more assets.  This is where the leverage comes in when you start to use other people’s money (that of the banks or building societies) to own more appreciating or revenue-producing assets.

The Bad Actors cloak everything they do for their own benefit as if it’s to protect us and it’s for our benefit and we lap it up!  Most of us want to be coddled and looked after it seems and we are willing to give up any semblance of autonomy over our bodies and lives to get that illusory sense of security. 

I say illusory because as soon as you deposit some money in the bank, it ceases to be yours and if the bank gets into trouble, they can take your money and give you worthless bank shares for it.  In fact, the Bank Of England just published the ‘playbook’ for bank ‘bail ins’ so that all the other banks can get ready for this confiscation.

Banks count deposits as liabilities and loans as assets, did you know that?  As soon as your money arrives, they need to get it out working and earning interest for them, interest which they certainly don’t pass onto you nowadays.

Everything that can be twisted and used to further the narrative that supports their own Elite agendas is regarded as a gift and used accordingly.  ‘A sudden pandemic you say?  Marvellous, that will deafen the sound of the creaking financial system brilliantly.  Got a patent for the vaccine? Need PPE too will they, you say?  Bring it on, let’s create a company and make it and supply it’.

As Confucius used to say, there is no crisis that can’t be turned into an opportunity.  That goes for a manufactured crisis too.  He must have been a Banker Troll or an Elite.


So what are we to do then?  While I knew about the ‘Game Of Money’ before March 2019 and was playing it with varying degrees of success, I knew nothing about the Bad Actors and their plans to use this crisis to further their oft-declared depopulation goals.  It’s been a real shock to my system and I’m sure, if you are reading this today, to yours.

When I try and educate those around me about this, people turn away, cover their eyes, tell me it makes them feel helpless and hopeless.  But there is no need to be, if you are willing to get educated and take a chance.  I’m going to share some resources below that will insure you and your loved ones against what is coming financially although I can’t do anything about the alarming need of the Elites to meddle in our everyday lives.

It’s splitting families and friends down the middle, even in my own family, with some choosing to bury their heads in the sand and some rejecting me as an outright lunatic.  

I am lucky, however, as I have a financial mentor who is a genius at strategic planning and when word started arriving from China that a virus was loose, he sat down and predicted everything that might happen as a consequence.  We wrote it all down so we could refer back to it.

He’s been absolutely ‘bang on the money’ so far.  Not just about the actions of the Elites and their puppets, but the timeframes involved too.  We’ve been able to prepare, to some degree.

We, as a human race, have all got soft and you know what they say about soft men bringing on hard times.  We rely on Amazon and Tescos deliveries, on the dustman taking our rubbish away, on the NHS being free for all and continuing to be so.  I count myself in this number by the way.

While it’s still possible to buy land, ideally with running clean water, build a log cabin and homestead (grow your own food), only a very tiny number are brave enough (or willing to work that hard).  

I follow the best of the homesteaders on YouTube in the hope of picking up enough survival skills in case this Covid panic and forthcoming financial collapse drives us all back to the land but I’m fervently praying that won’t happen.  I’m 59, 60 in September this year and apart from my continual surprise at reaching this age, I was looking forward to a nice peaceful retirement dividing my time between my favourite part of Greece, coming back to the  UK regularly to see my grandchildren growing up.  If the Elites succeed in their plans it’s doubtful if there will be any travel, much less grandchildren.

I’m fully aware that, in that ‘end of times’ scenario it won’t be my digital marketing or trading crypto skills that are at a premium, but my cooking and advanced sewing skills (I’m an ex-fashion designer!) will come in useful as will my recently discovered ability to shoot straight.

There’s still time.  

You can still educate and prepare yourself financially, turning every spare penny you have into assets that will hold their value, preserve your purchasing power and which may enable you and your family to survive the financial armageddon at least.  

The mass gatherings and protests in the UK, Lebanon, Algeria, India, Spain, Portugal, Australia, France, Cuba, South Africa give me hope.  

We are currently playing a far bigger game than most people realise. 

It’s much bigger than the Game Of Money. 

This is the Game Of Life.

We must win, the future of humanity depends on it.

Free & Low Cost Resources:

Hidden Secrets Of Money‘ free video series by Mike Maloney

Wealth Cycles‘ free video by Mike Maloney

‘The Money Gym’ book by Nicola Cairncross |

‘The Money Gym’ free podcast by Nicola Cairncross & Guests | Listen

‘The Money Gym: The Missing Chapter’ by Nicola Cairncross - Upgrade

George Gammon on YouTube .  George is just great at explaining things on a whiteboard in 3 easy steps!