Good employees work one job for a long time, stay late, work weekends, toe the company line… all at the expense of time with their family and their income potential. While there are plenty of moments in life when it’s worthwhile to get a job and work hard for an employer, those periods should all be rooted in the right reasons: passion, experience, education, long-term career positioning.
Consider carefully for a moment though: do you really want your son to grow up to be a yes man? Do you want your daughter growing up to be downsized out of a job and having to take several part-time jobs to make ends meet? Or would you rather they grow up with their own visions, launching companies that push boundaries and challenge conventions?
The days of long-term job security are gone. No one works for the same company their entire career anymore, with a fat pension and a cake party when they retire. The world just changes faster today than it did fifty years ago; technology erases old jobs and creates new ones, global economics make it easier than ever to move jobs around geographically and even retirement is now funded as an investment account owned by you, rather than a pension tied to a specific job.
To sit around debating whether these changes make the world better or worse is pointless. Will the world be a better or worse place when self-driving trucks make truckers obsolete? Neither, it just means that there will be more jobs for computer specialists at mechanic shops, and there will be fewer jobs for truck drivers. Raising your children to think critically, to recognize and capitalize on market opportunities, to take calculated risks, to see the larger picture… this will prepare them for success in a rapidly-changing world. Raising them to think in terms of picking a job will only prepare them for becoming victims of ever-changing economies and technologies.
Real estate investing is a great way to teach kids entrepreneurship and a way to think about their money and careers differently.
When your teenager earns money babysitting or working at the local Starbucks, what if you instilled a savings ethic in them, to save 50% of their income for investing? What if you and she scouted potential rental properties together on weekends, and together you bought and fixed up a property? The lessons here are endless. Evaluating risk, raising capital from others, the power of return on capital investments and the compounding effect of returns over time. Your children will start to learn about tax advantages from investments, about how passive income can change their life by earning money even when they aren’t working.
Teaching your children these skills and lessons is teaching them the rules to the game of success, in a capitalist economy. Instead of telling teenagers “you can’t afford that,” you can ask them “what could you do to afford that?” Instead of asking children what they want to do when they grow up, ask them how they want to change the world. The cleverest of the wealthy truly understand how money should work for you, not vice versa, and they educate their children about money from an early age. These children grow up thinking fundamentally differently about their finances and careers than their peers.
Gallup found recently that the average full-time employee in America works 47 hours/week – almost six full work days every week. When parsed down further, the numbers grew even scarier: 21% of Americans work 50-59 hours/week, and a full 18% work more than 60 hours/week. Nearly four in ten workers work more than 50 hours every week, longer than almost any other developed nation. Hard work is no sin of course, but it is both more lucrative and more personally meaningful if that hard work is put toward your own dream, your own company.
Whether your children grow up to invest in real estate is irrelevant (although it is a rewarding career and/or a lucrative way to generate wealth alongside other work). What matters is that they grow up with the mindset of creating and realizing their own visions. Sure, doctors and lawyers make a lot of money for the long hours they work, but entrepreneurs’ success potential is limitless. They can be successful in any economy, any market conditions, because they fundamentally think differently about the world and see opportunities that others can’t.
Prepare your children for success in tomorrow’s world by rethinking the way you talk to them about money, careers and investments (real estate or otherwise). Better yet, be a good entrepreneur yourself, and teach your children by example.