I wrote about this topic in the past and recently, I saw self-made millionaire Lawrence Tam‘s answer on Quroa to a question “What are good ways to prepare my children to become billionaires.” The post made me smile because his answer spoke to a lot of my feelings on this issue, specifically the part on why it’s a good thing to teach your children to want to become rich.
Many people assume that “all the rich care about” is running around in yachts and exploiting the poor. That’s what we see on TV. But I think we are all smart enough to understand that what we see on TV and what is reality isn’t exactly the same thing. Most of the time, it’s not even close.
When you have money, you have a power that is arguably one of the most powerful in human history, at least on a secular level. The money is NOT the goal, the STUFF that money gets you, is the goal. (and it’s not all about you too… think influence in charity work and community impact)
Do you want better healthcare? Buy it.
Need better education for your kids? Buy your way into a better school district, or pay for it. (there is a reason for schools accepting LARGE donations)
Want a better way to spend 8-12 hours a day working for someone who could care less about you? Find a way to pay your bills and then some.
Money also saves you money and time.
Buying nicer clothes and better cars last longer, need less maintenance and have a better resale value.
Taking care of yourself with exercise and organic food is cheaper than spending countless hours in the hospital chronically ill or hurt.
Set this example: Being rich means being generous, tough, but always true to yourself and your values.
Set this example: Being rich means being unpopular. A lot. Before you are rich, people will call you stupid and unrealistic. While you are climbing, people will say you won’t make it. Even after you are rich, people will still hate you because you are rich. Show them it rolls right off your back.
Set this example: You don’t have to be a psychopath to be successful in business. Part of being rich means growing assets, investing properly and learning how money works. Like a boss.
Set this example: Educate the heck out of yourself. Broaden the definition of education to include 5% classroom and 95% real life – case studies, mentors and just plain getting your hands dirty.
Set this example: If you are working HARD, and I mean you are giving it everything you’ve got, they will see that. They will miss you, but they will understand that it takes sacrifice and hard work to reach goals. Even though people think the rich don’t have it rough, they had it the hardest in the beginning. That is why it is “easier” for them later on. Though most people know that real leaders never, ever have it easier. Ever.
Even if in the pursuit to becoming rich, a child falls short, he or she still may have developed the work ethic, tenacity, drive and determination on the journey. Those are all good character traits to have no matter where you fall on the socieoeconomic ladder.