If you want to acquire wealth, you must change the way you think about money. In school, you probably didn’t learn how money works. You probably didn’t get a sound financial education. Even those whose full-time profession is in some area of finance often miss the most basic concepts of money that could be their ticket out of the rat race. (Can you name five accountants who have moved from middle class to being truly wealthy?) Your parents may have taught you what they knew, but how far did that knowledge get them? While the fundamentals of money—specifically using your money to make you more money—elude most among the poor and middle class, you don’t have to be one of the financially ignorant any longer. The concepts are simple if you don’t get bogged down in the details.

You also need to be open to opportunities—and prepared when they present themselves. Most people would say they are open to opportunities, while at the same time are unaware of the opportunities that surround them every day. Opportunities to make fortunes present themselves with surprising frequency. The notion of a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” is a myth. You have to be alertto opportunities in order to find them. They are there—like gold buried just beneath the surface—but they usually require a little digging to unearth them.

Financial intelligence, together with the ability to find and evaluate opportunities, is going to be a major factor in acquiring the wealth you desire, but you need to begin training yourself. If these are new concepts to you, a great way to start your education is by playing a game. Yep, a game.

In the early 1990s, Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, created a board game called Cashflow 101. It is designed specifically to help you learn about financial concepts such as keeping track of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. It also provides you with opportunities to invest your money in small deals and big deals that can have a profound impact on your financial circumstances. Based on the choices players make, a plumber or truck driver can easily surpass the doctor or attorney to win the game. There’s also an online version of the game. Or download the mobile app! Just don’t get hooked in and let the cashflow game become a time waster! (Link to freedom guide.)

The key—in the game and in life—is to grow your cash flow. If you understand how to acquire assets that generate more income than the expenses associated with them, you can free yourself. If you learn to put your money to work for you rather than just spending it all, you can escape from the rat race and pursue your dreams rather than just your next paycheck.

Image credit: Svet Ivantchev