Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Raising Savvy Business Kids

Flash to the Past

When I was growing up, my dad wanted me to get a college degree so that I wouldn’t follow in his footsteps by creating my own small business like he did (and my grandfather too).  Sadly, I was not destined to be a savvy Business kid…

Both my dad and grandfather had fairly successful businesses (my dad still have his business, my grandfather has past away).  They were trying to save me from the hours they put in to grow their businesses.  I remember my dad, looking at blueprints during basketball games down in a recreation room many a night!

Flash Forward

I’m doing the opposite with my kids!  I’m actually trying to raise my kids as Savvy Business Kids!

I decided to change direction from my dad because the company employee paradigm from his era no long applies today!  Company loyalty (while still may exist at a very small subset of companies), is going the same way of company pensions, they are becoming nonexistent…, extinct…, dust in the wind…

So what have I done to help my kids become business savvy?

  • I started introducing basic math early, especially getting them to recognize which coins had more value!
  • I bought a game called “Cash Flow For Kids” and to give them an incentive to play, I embellished the game for doing the following.  If they won, I paid them whatever they would spin on a spin dial.  the had the opportunity to win a 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 2 dollars or 5 dollar.  So far, I’ve been luck and they haven’t won the highest amount yet ($5.oo).
  • I started an eBay business with my son so he could learn that it’s possible to make money at an early age.   Ironically, this ended up working really well for me too!  We were able to buy a product from a supplier and sell the item on eBay at a pretty decent markup.  It was a good experience for the both of us (the taxes did sucked though).
  • We put prices on their toys and sold them in garage sales.
  • They would occasionally put up a lemonade stand.
  • My son has a deal with my dad to mow my parent’s lawn.  This actually works out great because he gets paid for mowing, but plays for a bit on the riding lawnmower at the same time (it’s a win-win).
  • My son has expressed an interest in selling some of his Pokémon cards on eBay.  We will start this adventure next!
  • ICarly has inspired son to think about blogging, but we haven’t done anything yet because he’s got too much going on as is.
  • My daughter has created drawings for sale (most of which my wife and I bought), and also had her own lemonade stands.

I’m hoping that the small business experiments that I’ve been working on with them will help in the future!  I think the lessons in investing and some small business exposure will help them see opportunities that others might miss in the future!

Do you think I’m trying too hard?  Do you have any suggestions? 

I’m an employee, so any suggestions would be appreciated from any small business folks out there!

-MR

29 Responses to Raising Savvy Business Kids

  1. This is great!

    To a certain extent I think the world has moved on from the ‘go to college and you’ll get a good job’ mentality. Kids/people today need to be able to ‘think on their feet’, ie, be savvy more than anything else; teaching them to think like a business person is a great start.

    • Thanks Laura!

      Yes, in many ways it sounds like it’s going to be a much more complex and unpredictable world. I figure, let’s do what we can for kids today to prepare them…

  2. I really like your approach. My belief in parenting is that the more we expose our kids to opportunities, the better able they will be to survive as adults. That said, in the end, kids, like adults will follow their own interests into adulthood.

    • Yes, that’s very true.

      Part of my logic is to create memory paths to the business creation experience. Much like when you ride a bike as a kid, you develop those memories which enable you to still be able to ride even after many of years of cycling inactivity 🙂

  3. i think you are doing a FINE job – and i would someday do the same. i love the fact that there are games they can enjoy and yet learn about money (monopoly :))

    my only question is – how do you ensure you maintain a balance (or that the kids do)? you don’t want them to become one track minded (money money money). you want them to also enjoy and live / experience life, while being financially responsible. i have seen entrepreneurship driven in heads of many kids who grow up and want to do nothing but their own business. many of them fail. how do we train/communicate them to maintain a balance (i.e. start working for someone, learn, gain confidence and then try something on the side before diving in full fledge)?

    • Great point. At this early of a stage, my son and I only work on business activities for about 1/2 an hour for the entire week. So what would take me maybe a day or 2 to accomplish, is extended out to a month timeframe. Slow and calculated, maybe we’ll work on it 5 to 10 minutes every other day.

      I guess it really depends on the kid and ones ability to understand them.

  4. I think showing kids they can make money in ‘non traditional’ ways is great. They will have that creative mind to find alternative sources of income their whole lives. I am sure that as they get older, you will show them how to make money with what they are interested in. Options are limitless with the internet!

    • True and well said as always 🙂

      I definitely want to teach them it’s okay to think outside of the box, and to try things other don’t or are afraid to try because of a potential failure or two.

      History is filled with failures that eventually become successfull… From Lincoln to Edison…

  5. I think that’s a great idea; start teaching your kids early about money and business. I have to say that the more ideas you give them, the more creative they can be. When my husband was a kid, he did many things on his own, like set up a lemonade stand, a kite rental stand, and help his parents in their grocery store. That experience carried over; he now owns his own graphic and web design company. At least your kids will have lots of options as young adults!

    • I’m hoping so. My daugher is only 6, and I haven’t done as much with her. But I expect really great things from her once she is older. The trick part is keeping the enthusiasm alive!

      Kite rental stand, hmmm that’s pretty cool!!!

    • Hehe, I think they like that if they win, they get the prize (the cash I offer up).

      Honestly, it’s kind of easy to get lost in the number (salary vs expenses) since they are constantly changing… especially for the banker (which my son usually does).

      So I know they wouldn’t play it because it requires some effort and math work, but the money incentive makes them more interested and willing to have a go at it.

  6. I deal with a lot of teens with very poor concept of money so I think you’re doing a good thing.

    My parents were small business owners and one of the most absolutely important skills needed is the ability to network. I mean, you’re essentially your own marketing team so you have to be ready and willing to talk business with everyone every chance you get. I’m sure you don’t want to teach your kids to talk to strangers but teaching them how to reach out and promote themselves is a skill that will help them through life regardless of what career path they choose.

  7. Since we have involved our kids in sports at a very early age (4 and 5), they are very comfortable around people. My daughter is shy by nature, but these past few years she has really blossomed socially. I’m proud of them both 🙂

    Thanks, and your kitchen island looks great!!!

  8. I remember making little bracelets and my family buying a few. I don’t know what else you can do to help their entrepreneurial spirits…maybe get them to brain storm about their favorite things and how to monetize it?

    • My son is mainly into trying to sell things on ebay. We haven’t started posted anything yet, but at least he’s interested.

      Right now we’re trying to determine what to sell.

  9. I think it is a great idea to teach kids about money early on. The more they know the more the options and opportunities they will find. You are making them to think like that, it is great. They will soon learn to assess an opportunity and figure out which is good and which is bad.

  10. I hope so. I’ve done enough with investments that I feel comfortable teaching them. But with business matters, I don’t have the experience. So it’s a learning experience for me too.

    Thanks for the encouragement though!

  11. Teaching your kids about business and finance is really good to get them ready when they grow up. I think the kids would appreciate it more when they become adults and they would realize how valuable those lessons to get them ready.

  12. I think what you’re doing is *amazing*… keep going! Many parents just rely on the public school system to indoctrinate… er… “educate” their kids, and take no responsibility whatsoever.

    I commend you for taking the time and effort to teach them something relevant to their future success, and also doing it in a way that they can enjoy!

    • As a side effect, I’m hoping my kids will call me whenever they have a question about something financially oriented.

      I’ve made a few mistakes when I was younger and I think I can help steer then in the right direction.

  13. I don’t think you are trying to hard at all. In fact, I agree with what you are doing! It seems like they are really going to have a good head about business and going beyond conventional thinking when it comes to money!

    It sounds like a blog would be the next step for your son. Or at least having him journal the ups and downs of these adventures! Might become a popular book!

    • That’s a good idea! It would be fun to write about what we do as we go about it. 😉

      Perhaps after we get a year under our belt and have had at least a few successful sales, we’ll do that!

      Thanks 🙂

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