Listen To The Story

The most important lessons we learn about money don’t come from our accountants or our radios. They come from our family. 

On Money, we invite someone to tell us about the money tips they inherited from the people they grew up with. This week our guest is the comedian and writer Hari Kondabolu. You might have seen him recently on The Late Show with David Letterman or as a correspondant on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.

Kondabolu's parents both worked at hospitals, and taught him saving and fiscal responsiblity were important at an early age. Kondabolu took his parents advice, but he feels like one of his most important financial lessons was gleaned elsewhere: the board game Monopoly.

"You have this bank and you have to buy property with it, and there were repurcussions if you didn't pay for something on time," says Kondabolu. "You know people landed in your hotels and even if they didn't have money they had to figure it out or they were out of the game."

Kondabolu's family used house rules that made the game even tougher.

"We played with debt so you'd be in negative numbers and owe people forever," says Kondabolu. "It was so dark, and awful and strangely accurate!"

That fear of losing everything only reinforced Kondabolu's parents' advice: Save, save, save. And that lesson became particularly important when Kondabolu, an up-and-coming comedian with an unstable income, turned 25 and left his family's health insurance plan.

"They don't have that in Monopoly, 'Oh I got sick and I'm uninsured so I need to sell my one house, not a hotel, my one house!" says Kondabolu.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.