If you’ve fully committed yourself to real estate investing, your natural inclination will be to share your love of real estate with your children. This is a worthy goal, but there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing it. Follow my roadmap for entrepreneurship and your children will be poised for success, regardless of what they decide to do with their lives.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that your children aren’t necessarily just younger versions of you. They will have their own wants and needs, but they will also naturally be curious about exactly what it is that you do.
There’s nothing wrong with exposing them to the world of real estate investing. As a matter of fact, exposure to real estate investing principles may help them to define very early in their lives what it is that they want to do for a living. It can also serve a much larger purpose: It will give you lots of one-on-one time with your children and provide teachable moments; times that your children will look back on even decades later with warmth and fondness. And believe me when I say this: You’ll get even more out of it!
It’s important as you do this that you make this a fun process for your kids. If the time you spend educating them about real estate investing and entrepreneurship feels more like an extension of school, they may not have fun. If it isn’t fun for your kids, they may tune you out or resist learning the important principles you’re trying to teach them about.
The best way to expose your children to real estate is by providing them with general information about entrepreneurship and then giving them specific examples that relate to real estate investing. If they express an interest, continue. If not, pull back. If you force the issue you may completely turn them off to real estate investing. What they learn from you can lay a foundation for a lifetime of wealth even if they ultimately decide that real estate investing isn’t the specific form of entrepreneurship that they’re interested in pursuing. Here are a few other things you can do as well:
Setting goals – In many ways, children are hard-wired as natural goal-setters. The problem is, they usually fail to follow through with concrete action. Try teaching them how to reach a goal by breaking a single goal down into a series of easily reachable mini-goals. For instance, if they want to buy a new DVD that costs $20 and they can save $5 per week towards that DVD, help them to make a chart that will help them to track their progress. Every week when they save $5, let them color in the next portion of the chart that shows the progress that they have made. You’ll be teaching them the importance of setting goals and following through on those goals with clearly defined steps that will help them to reach the goal of owning that new DVD. Share in their excitement with them as they get even closer to reaching their goal – and then celebrate their “victory” when they buy the DVD. Then go home and watch it together!
Motivation – One of the most difficult principles to teach a child is motivation. They change speeds (and directions) so quickly that it’s often hard to keep up with them. In order to help keep your kids motivated, it’s necessary that you provide them with plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement. For instance, if you’re teaching your child the importance of saving money for a rainy day (which is important in real estate investing and general entrepreneurship), they may want to tap into their rainy day fund every time they want something a day or two before they receive their allowance. Remind your child of how much they have saved and that being patient now will pay huge dividends later.
Investing Principles – Children have no idea about what general investing principles are and how appreciation works. It’s a very limited scale, but interest earned from a simple savings account can teach them the principle of appreciation. Explain to your children that by holding onto an asset – in this case a savings account – that their investment will be worth more in a year than it is today. Many times, you won’t need to do anything special to receive that benefit other than hold onto the asset. As your children get older, you can show them on paper how real estate can get MUCH more valuable on an even more accelerated timeline.
Teaching your kids principles of entrepreneurship will come in handy if they ultimately decide to follow in your footsteps as a real estate investor. However, these lessons have many other helpful applications in ensuring that they’ll have a good background in goal-setting, staying motivated, and the patience to be good investors, too. Entrepreneurs and other go-getters are in relatively short supply. By giving your children a broad knowledge base you can help to ensure a lifetime of prosperity for your kids – and you’ll be doing your part to help create another generation of success-minded Americans who will ultimately change the world for the better!