7 Valuable Money Lessons For Kids From Successful Entrepreneurs
By Dan Kadlec
February 14, 2018
As a teacher or a parent, you may be setting up your students or children for a lifetime of financial miscues simply by perpetuating some common money myths. In a new book, Secrets Self-Made Millionaires Teach Their Kids, author Steve Siebold explores these myths through the eyes of people who started with nothing and became wealthy.
Siebold is a former professional tennis player who now speaks on the value of mental toughness. He has written extensively on money topics and derives much of his material from three decades of interviews with self-made millionaires.
He is a money-first kind of guy, which can be off-putting. For example, he advises young people to take up golf and tennis no matter how badly they would rather be playing basketball or baseball. Why? People with money play those sports and this can be the link that gets you access to their resources.
On the golf course, “almost everyone I met was a senior executive in a corporation, a successful entrepreneur or a tenured professional,” Siebold told me in an email. He added that he has been able to “land millions of dollars in deals with golfers.”
That strikes me as a tad conniving for young people still discovering their passions. Yet I have little doubt it works. Siebold says this kind of scheming is part of the thought processes, philosophies and strategies of many wealthy people.
The book is designed for parents or teachers to read aloud to teens and then follow with discussion. That part I like—if you can get your teens to sit still long enough. Remember, Siebold’s observations are pulled from interviews with successful entrepreneurs. As a group, they probably are more results oriented and focused on self-sufficiency than people who work for the man or seek happiness climbing the corporate ladder. That is not a bad thing. Here are some of his thoughts:
Making money is easy Too many people think making money is difficult, which may be true if what you do does not excite you and seems to serve little purpose. The secret to making easy money is understanding that the world is full of problems—and if you solve problems the money will follow. The bigger the problem, the more money there is in finding a solution.
Top schools are nice, but not necessary A lot of wealthy people go to Ivy league universities but that isn’t the only kind of education that matters. Wealthy parents encourage their kids…
• • •
…to tap any form of education available to make their dreams a reality—whether it’s interviewing successful people, reading, listening, or attending seminars. Self-education is a powerful tool.
Hard work is no guarantee If hard work was the secret to making money, every construction worker, waiter and waitress would be rich. Teach kids to think big and target areas of need. Thinking is the highest paid work. Teach kids to use their natural talents, abilities and passions to think of solutions to problems people will pay for. Innovation and creativity go much farther than a hard day’s work.
Play up Hanging around with kids who are motivated, even though they may not be cool, gives you an edge. Motivation leads to success, and it is contagious. Encourage young people to seek out friends that are getting things done and enjoying their success. These kids will be winners in life, not wannabees. Being cool is overrated. Being successful is better.
Stay with it Make sure kids understand that if they fail at something they shouldn’t automatically move on to the next thing. Teach them the value of persistence and that failure is not fatal. They can learn from failure and do better next time. Success is often the product of failing over and over again.
Opportunity is not equal All kids are better in some areas and lacking in others. They should focus on their unique talents to construct the life they want. No one owes them a fair life with equal opportunities. They must be able to overcome adversity and make something happen for themselves.
Money is not happiness The world is full of unhappy bankers and lawyers. A bank account does not erase life’s chaos and struggles. Happiness is found in family, friends, pursuing passions and finding love. Children should not equate money with happiness. Teach them to find happiness before they find money.
There are no real tricks here. Much of this advice will strike battle-worn adults as common sense. Yet how often do we present such strategies to young people in a way that they can relate? How often do we reinforce such strategies at home or in the classroom with nudges and lessons? Now is a good time to get started.