Growing up, dinner table conversations never revolved around financial matters. There were no debates about the best ways to save money or discussions on how to pick the best stocks for long term success. Unfortunately, the school of hard knocks became my best teacher.

That’s one of the reasons I vow that my kids will understand the rules of money right out of the gate. So, what advice will I pass on to my children before they venture out into the real world?

Become an owner

Think about it. The richest people in America made their fortunes through ownership. Warren Buffet became rich by way of stocks. Donald Trump rode the real estate train to wealth, while Oprah built a business empire on her way to becoming one of the wealthiest women on the planet.

We’ve been fed the myth that a good 9 to 5 job is the surest way to wealth. Yet, with the exception of the occasional CEO, the way to true wealth is always through ownership.


In America, financial prosperity is linked to ownership, whether it’s ownership of stocks, bonds, real estate, an interest in another business, or even ownership of your own business.

Unfortunately, we’re trained to be consumers rather than owners. We’d rather buy Apple iPhones than purchase Apple stock. We’d rather let others build businesses than start our own.

My children will understand that owners major in wealth, while consumers major in debt. The richest people in the world didn’t get wealthy by mastering the art of consumption.

And how exactly will they become part of the ownership society? I’ll teach them to spend less than they make, while using what’s left over to invest in wealth building ownership assets.

Resist the urge to follow the crowd

Most people are not wealthy. So why then do we follow the examples of the people around us? I admit, following the the crowd is easy. It requires little thinking and less effort. But, following the crowd is the surest path to financial disaster.

My kids will understand that becoming financially fit isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy either. You must be willing to do what the crowd refuses: track your spending, follow a budget, avoid buying on credit, and save and invest a percentage of your income.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey sums it up best when he suggests that we, “Live like no one else today, so we can live like no one else tomorrow.”

Master the art of self control

“God has equipped you to handle difficult things. In fact, He has already planted the seeds of discipline and self-control inside you. You just have to water those seeds with His Word to make them grow!” – Joyce Meyer

The greatest challenge to financial freedom is self-control. The lack of self-control has us buying items we can not afford and purchasing things we really do not need. The ability to delay gratification and to distinguish a “want” from a “need” are crucial skills all parents should pass on to their childen.

Don’t let your possessions define you

Too often our self-esteem is tied up in what we drive, who we wear, or where we live. This dangerous trap crushes any hopes of achieving financial freedom. We end up sacrificing financial stability for the fleeting validation that material possessions provide.

I will be sure that my children derive their self-worth from being competent, God-fearing, empathetic human beings, rather than from owning material possessions. This will free them up to become more concerned about the type of retirement account they own instead of the brand of car they sport.

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Chances are you know someone who is extremely wealthy, but they’re not going to let you in on their secret. No, they’re too busy enjoying life. They have little need for Trump-like gloating or over-the-top displays of wealth. Author Thomas Stanley calls them the “millionaires next door.” But what if your “millionaire next door” acquaintance decided to spill her money secrets, what might she tell you?

1. I could care less what you think about where I live, what I drive, or which designer fashions I sport. To put it bluntly, I’m more concerned about creating wealth than impressing you. Sure, you might not be captivated with the size of my vehicle, but I’d bet you’d be amazed at the size of my 401K account.

2. Long ago I realized that you better control your money or it will control you. That’s why at the beginning of the month I give my Washingtons, Jeffersons and Benjamins their marching orders by telling each dollar exactly where it’s going. Some may call it a budget. I call it a freedom plan.

3. Debt is slavery. I avoid it like the plague. If I can’t pay cash for something, I don’t buy it.

4. Speaking of business, if you do chose to start your own, remember that the easiest way to become successful is to help people solve a common problem. The bigger the problem, the greater your reward. That’s why I’m always on the look out for problems. They are golden opportunities in the making.

5. Instead of working to live, too many of my friends are living to work. They’ve become slaves to their possessions, so they must work incessantly to make the payments on all of their toys. I refuse to fall into that trap.

6. I believe in paying all of my bills on time, but I always pay myself first. Since I can’t spend money I don’t see, I have a portion of my paycheck automatically direct deposited into a special savings account.

7. Don’t believe the naysayers. You don’t have to possess great education or possess a lot of money to become wealthy in America. There are plenty of millionaires who never graduated from high school or who immigrated with next to nothing in their pockets. The simple truth is that anyone can become rich in America. It’s just a matter of mindset. That’s why I think big and dream even bigger.

8. Unfortunately, we were all fed a lie. We were told that to achieve financial success we simply had to get a good job, work hard, and live happily ever after. I’ve learned that true financial freedom comes by way of ownership. Just ask Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. That’s why I make sure to spend less than I earn. I use the excess cash to become an owner of stocks, bonds, real estate, and my own business.

9. Time is my biggest ally. That’s why I started at an early age investing small amounts of money on a regular basis.

10. Experiences bring me more long term joy than material possessions. If I have to chose between a new toy and a trip with friends, I’ll chose the trip every time.

11. Life happens. Cars break down. The water heater stops working. You find out that your kid needs braces. That’s why the very first thing I did was create an emergency fund. Save your money for one day it will save you.

12. The average American spends nearly five hours a day watching television. Not me. Nene Leakes and Olivia Pope aren’t going to pay my bills or make me wealthy. Instead, while others are watching television, I’m spending the time either increasing my knowledge or building my business.

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