Raising your millionaire

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Troy Dunn's 2007 "Young Bucks - How To Raise A Future Millionaire," is about entrepreneurship and it's a must read for parents. Dunn, who has the credentials, has a lot to say about kids and money. He has a formula and he thinks outside the box. He believes that children can "learn to earn young," and he isn't a fan of allowances. He thinks it's better to give children, "the gift of want."

A self-made millionaire, Dunn learned how to think about money early in life at monthly, "business meetings" with his dad, a teacher, over hot chocolate at Denny's.

His ideas about how kids grow up to be financially successful fly in the face of what parents often assume. Rather than setting their sights on "getting into the right college or landing a job at a big corporation," Dunn thinks parents can prepare children for financial success by helping them figure out who they are -- then helping a child capitalize on his or her own interests and enthusiasm with a bit of business acumen.


Some kids just seem to be born this way. In second grade, our younger son bought two dozen balls and a few other small toys from the Oriental Trading Company and was happily reselling them to his classmates. When the school banned that first entrepreneurial venture, he convinced the owner of a small video shop to let him set up a self-pay concession. He paid his "rent" by vacuuming the shop every few days. This is exactly the kind of activity that Dunn recommends. Most kids won't initiate it, but the vast majority will respond enthusiastically with a bit of coaching.

Dunn thinks these kinds of ventures are "actually the best recipe for life's work. When a child, no matter how young, is creating jobs for himself, he is doing much more than making some extra money to buy an iPod -- he's developing self-reliance and confidence in his own ability, and he's discovering that the world really is filled with opportunity. He is also learning practical business skills."

Parents are business mentors in Dunn's system. The goal, he says, is "to help your child understand that work is nothing more than exchanging talent for money...When he sees that his future financial success lies in discovering and developing his innate talents, he has learned a valuable lesson." Your child's personality and interests, Dunn believes, can "serve as a template for businesses that will best suit her."

Last week I mentioned one of the books that has most influenced my thinking about children, ("Your Child is a Person" by Adler and Chess) which looks at temperamental variables present from birth. Dunn takes this a step further. He re-frames attributes normally viewed negatively. Stubborn can also mean persistent and self-confident. Shy can mean contemplative, patient, able to listen. Hyperactivity may be energy and impatience to get things done. Daydreaming is sometimes about imagination and creativity.

Maybe your child isn't "bossy." She may just be a determined leader!

It doesn't mean that we don't shape these traits. That's part of what parents do -- we socialize our children. It does mean that financially some of these temperamental aspects may turn out to be positives rather than negatives.

The psychology behind "Young Bucks" makes sense to this clinician. There is also a concrete mentoring plan and pages of "Big-Buck Business Ideas." It's an easy read.

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