Care About the Future

Amanda wants to know how to get her students to care about their future finances. Dave tells her what approach he'd take.

QUESTION: Amanda in Atlanta wants to know how to get her students to care about their future finances. Dave tells her what approach he’d take.

ANSWER: You might take some of the EntreLeadership principles and juxtapose them with some of the bad news stories of businesses mistreating their team. There are two tracks you can go down here, and let’s look at that. Would you rather be a leader or a boss? Let’s pretend you were the leader, and what type of team member would you rather have? Would you rather have an employee who comes late, leaves early, and steals while they’re there, or would you rather have a team member who adds value and is excited about being there?

The reason EntreLeadership materials have been so popular with adults is adults have been kicked around by corporate America. They’ve been stepped on and kicked and spit on by companies. They yearn for quality leadership. They yearn for quality team members to join them in an endeavor. These kids haven’t got the benefit of having been abused yet by the marketplace. All I can think of is to set up the abuse and show them that it’s there with news stories or business-gone-bad-type stories. Then juxtapose those with the right way to do it, and then maybe they get engaged.

I grew up in a solid middle-class, working-class situation. One of the things that always jazzed me was when someone put examples in front of me of real people who did rags to riches. I got to read, and that gave me hope that I could go from middle class to whatever I wanted to do. Horatio Alger stuff, you know? There are lots of great stories out there of people who start from nothing, the vast majority of millionaires. And you can just go through the Forbes 400 and start looking and see how many of those people started from nothing and get articles and even biographies on some of those. The one that pops into my head is a million years ago, and I don’t even know if you could find the book. It’s called Pizza Tiger, and it’s the story of Tom Monaghan who started Domino’s Pizza. He was in a homeless shelter at one point. He was staying in a flophouse after he got out of the Army. He didn’t have a home. He went all the way from there to being a multibillionaire.

I think you just find examples people who have started from where they are and what they were able to do. I actually had lunch the other day at one of our EntreLeadership events with a 19-year-old kid who has written some apps for some of the games that the kids play, and he just paid cash for his first house. He’s made millions of dollars, and he’s 19 years old. That inspired me. That was amazing to sit and hear that story and how he took a basic Apple development software and wrote a little app to go with the online games that the kids are all participating in, and he knew what they were looking for because he is one of them almost. The thing just exploded. There’s some 44-year-old sitting on his couch unemployed, and this guy comes up with this.

I love success stories. One of the things I learned years ago that a guy taught me is to read not only books on leadership or books on business but also read biographies of successful people and rags-to-riches stories. There are a bunch of them out there. I would find some of those great business stories of people literally starting from nothing.