I have worked in several financial/administrative jobs. My brother works in sales. My wife is a teacher and her sister now works for a university. All of us found careers that modeled our parents. My dad was an office manager for a large company when I was young, and I went to work for a large accounting firm. By the time my brother came along, 15 years after me, Dad had started a new career selling real estate and eventually opened his own firm. About the time he did, I left a Fortune 50 telecommunication firm to run a startup. My brother took a sales position with a large firm. My wife’s parents were both university professors and look at their daughters.
While the logical may argue a lack of cause and effect, I believe our expectations are greatly shaped by our parent’s role modeling. While in some cases this is wonderful, given the current demographics of our nation, I think this is a major problem. Too many kids today lack proper role models especially in the area of economic opportunity.
My facilitation of the Young Entrepreneur Academy program (www.yeausa.org) at a local high school has once again proven Robert Kiyosaki’s maxim: “Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.” Turning a kid’s dream into a business capable of receiving funding from an investor panel is personally the best return on my professional time. Period. You can especially see the difference when the youth have no role models at home. The program works because business people mentor the kids through their business plan and presentation. These mentors share the satisfaction of receiving more than they ever give.
So my number one investment tip for 2014:
Find a kid without a great role model and invest in his/her dreams. Whether it’s through YEA, Big Brother/Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, or your civic club, just find someone who could benefit from your optimism and encouragement. The time is more important than the advice. If you find a greater return in 2014, I would love to hear about it.