Do you want your kids to be successful? Although there is no foolproof way to ensure that, it doesn’t mean you can’t increase the odds of them succeeding.
When I was growing up, my parents did a lot of things that helped spearhead me into success. These things weren’t done intentionally, but if you replicate them with your kids, I think you’ll be able to increase their odds of success as well.
Pick your friends wisely
My parents are big discriminators. No, not against a specific race. They hate dumb people. When I was growing up, they always encouraged me to hang out with the smart kids. They never allowed me to hang out with kids that just wanted to mess around because they felt that I would pick up bad habits from them.
By hanging out with people who were smarter than me, I had to push myself to do well in school. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in the same classes that my friends were in. And as you well know, the last thing a young kid wants is to be a loner.
Education is everything
In my family, you only had one responsibility as a kid. It wasn’t to keep your room clean or to help around in the house. It was to do well in school. Education was so important in my family that during my summer vacation my parents would give me homework to complete every day.
Most of the homework they gave me was math-related, which sucked. It did come in handy in the future as the only thing I am really good at, other than counting money, is solving problems. And if I didn’t spend as many hours as I did doing math homework, I probably wouldn’t be a good problem solver.
The best cartoons are on CNBC
Technically, CNBC doesn’t have any cartoons, but that was the channel I used to watch every morning before I went to school. It wasn’t that I enjoyed watching it. It’s that my parents loved the stock market so much that the TV was always tuned to CNBC.
From the day I started elementary school to the day I went off to college, CNBC was on every morning. And even though I hated CNBC, I ended up picking up a few things here and there. For example, I learned that profit is much more important than revenue or that you can make a profit by trading currency.
I know these things sound obvious, but when you are 12 or 13 years old, you don’t really think about Forex trading.
Money doesn’t grow on trees
I know, technically it does, but you get my point. The way my parents encouraged me to save all of the money I got for Christmas or Birthday presents was by matching it. So, for every dollar I placed in a bank account, they matched it with a dollar.
Throughout my childhood, I was able to save up to $1,000, which isn’t too shabby for a young kid. Although I never really used that money for anything, it taught me the value of having a bank balance.
You never know when the shit will hit the fan, so you should always save money, especially in business. That way, when times are bad, at least you won’t have to close your doors.
Financial statements are meant to be shared
Very few of my friends know about their parents’ financial situation. Throughout my childhood, my parents always shared with me how much money they made, how much savings they had, and how much of any losses or gains they encountered through the stock market.
The cool part about knowing your parents finances as a child is that it lets you know what you need to do. Should you be getting a job and helping out or should you be thinking about ways to invest their money?
Luckily enough, I didn’t need to get a job, and although my parents weren’t the richest people out there, it didn’t stop me from thinking about how I could make more money from their money. For example, one thing I dreamed about was to own a Taco Bell – an idea my parents always encouraged.
Spoil your child, but not too much
As I mentioned above, my parents are neither rich nor poor. They fit somewhere right in the middle. So, when I was growing up, they didn’t ask me to pay for my clothes, food, car, or college tuition.
Although it seems like things were just handed to me on a silver platter, I wasn’t spoiled. For example, I never had the latest gaming system or a TV in my bedroom.
I didn’t have to worry about the basic necessities in life, which meant that I could focus on my education and on building a business. If I had to worry about making car or rent payments, I wouldn’t be where I am today in life. Instead, I would probably be working for Microsoft.
I know, spoiling your children sounds like a bad thing, but it allows them to take more risks in life. You just have to be careful and not spoil them too much.
Encourage business, even if it isn’t legal
No, my parents would have never let me sell drugs. But they did let me sell bootleg cable boxes, which is kind of in the gray area.
At that point, it was the only business I was interested in. So, they let me do what I wanted as long as I didn’t get into trouble. Eventually, I made the transition into more ethical businesses, but if my parents would have stopped me initally, who knows where I would be today.
So, if your kids want to sell lemonade, even though it requires a city permit, let them do it. As long as there is no risk of them going to jail or getting into other serious trouble, it’s good to encourage entrepreneurship.
The best policy is an open policy
By the time I was ready to start my first real business, I needed some money. I had some money saved up from some part-time jobs, but I didn’t have enough.
Lucky for me, my parents had an open policy, meaning they opened their bank account to me. They had saved up money for their retirement, but they trusted me with it, and it was enough to get me up and running.
Without their money, I would have never built a company that hit 7 figures in revenue. So, if your kids need some money, don’t be afraid to open your bank account to them.
Granted, your kids could lose your money, just like I lost my parents’ money the first few times. But if you don’t keep on encouraging them and helping them out, they’ll never succeed.
Business is business
While in high school, I had a few ventures. Many of them didn’t work out, but one of them did. So, by the time I entered college, I continued to expand my mini-empire. As I was expanding, I had a habit of being a nice guy.
I always wanted to please people, which caused me to lose around a million dollars. And I probably would still be a people pleaser if it wasn’t for my parents.
See, my parents always told me that I have to look out for my best interests. They always told me to watch out for others, or else I can get screwed. I never really believed them until I got screwed really badly and lost a lot of money.
More importantly, they taught me that if I was doing business with friends or family, I shouldn’t let that affect anything as business is business. If the other party can’t accept that, then they aren’t worth doing business with.
I know it sounds bad to be a cutthroat businessperson, but sometimes you have to. I used to think that everyone’s problems were my problems. But my parents taught me that they weren’t and that if you aren’t a cutthroat person when time requires it, people will just walk all over you.
Criticism may be annoying, but it’s helpful
To this day, my parents criticize what I am doing. They always point out my mistakes and never forget them.
If they didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have learned from most of my mistakes. Although I hate it when my mom tells me that I was wrong and she was right, it truly keeps me grounded.
No matter what your kids do in life, make sure you give them useful criticism. The key isn’t to be a pest, but it is to give them feedback they can learn from. Your kids may hate or ignore you, but remember that the criticism is making them better people. They may not like it now, but they’ll appreciate it in the future.
I wish I could look into a crystal ball and tell you that your child is going to be successful, but reality is I can’t. The average income for someone in the US is $32,140 a year. Only 6.24% of people who live in the US make more than $100,000 a year.
Although the odds are against your child’s success, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to change it. Whether it is following what my parents did with me or doing what you feel fits your child, it’s up to you to help make your child successful.