Q&A: Daymond John Not a Shark With His Own Money
NEW YORK -- On ABC's "Shark Tank," Daymond John scrutinizes the business plans of wannabe entrepreneurs, but how does he manage his own finances?
A self-made businessman, John is actually pretty realistic -- working his way up many ladders and learning from failures. A native of Queens, New York, John founded FUBU at age 23 in 1992, riding the wave of hip-hop fashion trends.
Now 46, he has been with "Shark Tank" since its debut in 2009. He serves as a consultant, gives motivational speeches, writes books and is a spokesman for other businesses, such as Gillette.
Reuters spoke with John about how his acumen for business translates to managing his own money:
Q: How much of your net worth is locked away for the future, and how much is at your disposal now?
A: I've probably put in 50 percent for long-term, and the rest I play with. I have squirreled away enough to not have to worry about it. Hopefully, I'll never have to touch it, and it will be passed onto my kids or a great organization.
What I play with now, it can fluctuate. I can end up using a good percentage of it on a great acquisition, or I can hold it.
Q: How involved are you in the management of that money?
A: There are several levels of it. I'm involved when I'm doing my day-trading. When we're talking about asset allocation, I have very different approaches. I'm with Goldman [Sachs] and various other firms. I kind of let three out of five of them do their own thing. For two out of five, I monitor [my account] over the course of every month or so.
Q: Most of what you do on 'Shark Tank' can be considered alternate investments, but do you do anything beyond that to diversify your portfolio?
A: My larger investments have been apparel brands. As for real estate, I'm part of a fund, but I've never been that great at real estate.
Q: When you do a promotion like for Gillette's Shave Club, do you have an investment in that, or is it just for promotion?
A: It's a brand association. It's just an investment of my time and my face and my integrity. I don't take it lightly.
Q: You lend your name to a lot of causes as well. How do you decide what charities get your time and money?
A: It's not really a planned thing. I try to give on various platforms, and not do too much check-book philanthropy. For some, I will try to make more people aware of the plight, and help get more people to give. To some I will dedicate time, such as my desire to get out word about dyslexia.
Q: Do you have planned giving worked into your estate plan?
A: I don't have that formal plan -- some will go to family and certain small organizations. One is animal related, one is dyslexia, one is hip-hop against violence.
Q: Who first taught you about finance and money management?
A: I got the knowledge by blowing about $20 to $30 million the first time I made it. I'm not one of the few who hit lotto or peaked at 25 as an athlete. I have had several other bites at the apple.
Q: You have listed Robert Kiyosaki's 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' as one of your favorite books. What have you learned from it?
A: The fundamental lesson to it is it's not how much you make, it's how much you save. You should go after small opportunities that have the potential to grow into large opportunities. That educated me on the tool of money.