- Consumer Warning: Read This Before Refinancing Your Automobile by Henry Ford -
The Power of Effective Money Management
Dr. Robert L. Lawson
It’s not what I write that will make a positive impact on the financial lives and attitudes of those who read this article; it’s what the readers do with what I write that will be the factor that ultimately determines the opportunity they have to achieve virtually unlimited financial success.
Allow me to illustrate that point by using a simple sports analogy. Anyone who follows sports and understands the value and power of getting athletes to buy into a system that works effectively knows that those teams that have a combination of the best talent and aptitude for success and a willingness to work together as cohesive team members are the ones that consistently win games whether they play at the college or pro level.
If you buy into what I’ve just said, keep reading. This article just might be for you. The way I see it, there are five levels of money management and I have literally created a system that is designed specifically to achieve a high level of financial success. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late. Michael Jackson, Elvis Pressley, Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon are dead proof of that. Always be thinking of your legacy.
The five levels of which I speak can be mastered virtually at any age but the sooner one gets started the better. Why? It’s simple. Time is money.
Level One—“Preparation is the key to financial success.” Thus, the pre-teenage years are critical. The attitude and the aptitude about and for money has to start in the home. For children to understand the value and the power of money and for them to develop the habit of saving versus spending is the first key in helping a child to understand and appreciate fiscal responsibility. Parents who teach and set a powerful example of fiscal prudence will pass this same value on to their children. Just ask the financial giants in the money making industry. Warren Buffet started investing when he was eleven. The sooner we can teach our children how they can make their money work for them, the more we are empowering them to secure a bright future for themselves and for the economy. Piggy Bank Basics for Kids by Chad McKibben and me should be available sometime in 2011.
Level 2—This involves the title of our next book project which is nearing completion and is currently being field tested at Georgetown Jr. Sr. High School in Georgetown, Ohio. The title is on point. What Every Teenager and Young Adult Needs to Know About Money. This includes the basic aspects of money management. Think about the current state of our economy for a moment. How in the world did our parents, educators, business people and politicians miss the boat on this one?
In addition to teaching students English, Science, Social Studies, Math, Health and other important subjects, it is also our duty to see to it that they develop an acute acumen and penchant for understanding the power of the almighty dollar, a keen work ethic and an excitement about effective ways to make their money grow.
What Mr. McKibben and I have discovered is that teenagers will listen and we have no intention of stopping until such time as every high school, every university and essentially every home in the country adopts a curriculum or one similar to the one we teach. Like Billionaire Donald Trump and multi-millionaire Robert Kiyosaki, the authors of Why We Want You to Be Rich, we want teachers who are willing to teach this material to youth with the same fervor, passion and enthusiasm that we have.
Our joint book, What Every Teenager and Young Adult Needs to Know About Money will be available in 2011. When today’s teenagers and young adults apply the information in this book to their lives, they will influence our economy to the point where it will look vastly different from the way it is today. With greater fiscal prudence and an acceptance that they should be in control of their own financial destiny we may not live to see it but, a hundred years from now the legacy we leave through the values of instilled economic responsibility in the hearts and minds of our youth will be priceless. The primary difference is that we are making a financial difference in the lives of children by teaching them at an early age the power tenets of how they can make their money work for them.
Level 3—Statistics show that the average college student owns four credit cards that are usually maxed out and when they graduate with a four year degree are faced with the stark reality of being almost $30,000.00 in debt. Most have no jobs awaiting them on the horizon so is it any wonder that their future is further compromised with such staggering, mind numbing and overwhelming debt? That challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that the college recidivism rate is also 50%. There is never a guarantee that a student is going to finish school. The only way we can help our college bound youth is by educating them about finances before they find themselves debt ridden and in a state of despondency. Through proper counseling some of them can find scholarships; others can apply for grants that do not have to be paid back while still others can try to get either part or fulltime jobs in order to stave off the harsh reality of “the buy now pay later plan” that usually results in delayed interest rates on loans that students can never repay. Helping students to understand this at the onset through financial education can help to stave off or at least curtail further economic disasters.
The more that college bound students are taught to prepare for their economic future now by saving money and having added parental contributions and support through scholarship funds from their local churches and area corporations and businesses the greater will be their opportunity to graduate from college successfully. College students who have been taught effective ways to earn, save, invest and eliminate debt will be far more effective in managing their economic future than those who have not.
I have had numerous students in high school, college and in various other stages of life to tell me that they never even considered saving money or investing until I had talked to them about it. When you consider the fact that only 5% of the people in our society are highly successful financially, you almost have to assume that the reason why is that they have never been trained or taught to think about how finances work and that mindset needs to change and change in a hurry. That is our job and we as leaders have a tremendous responsibility and an obligation to get this information into the hands of as many people as we possibly can.
Level 4 – This is the adult stage. The potential to achieve millionaire status is possible for all age levels; however, the older a person becomes, the greater the odds are against achieving this economic level of success. The habits of the rich should have been learned and practiced before now.
For the serious investors and those willing to take some moderate and sometimes aggressive risks, there is still time to get the job done. What will it require? To put it simply, it will require knowledge, patience, commitment, tenacity, discipline and focus. That, of course, incorporates a specific goal achievement plan coupled with a firm belief in one’s own abilities and skills to follow through on that plan. The earlier in life that one understands the power of compound interest and applies it to their lives, the more revenue they are going to be able to generate. If nothing has captured your attention or drawn your interest up to this point, perhaps it’s time we took a look at some figures that might peak your curiosity just a bit. In order for us to get where we need to go, it helps if we have a specific financial target at which we are aiming. Here’s one that can be shared at any of the five levels and there’s still time to achieve it even at the adult level.
As you work toward achieving your financial goals, when you reach 1.4 million dollars and have that much invested in stocks, bonds, retirement savings, mutual funds, real estate or other types of securities, if you withdraw that money at a rate of 4% a year over a 12 month period you will have an annual salary of $56,000.00 per year. That is an excellent standard of living for many people. The really good news is that if your ROI or rate of return on your invested money is yielding an even higher percentage then, you will make even more money on your invested dollars. Many people can get themselves into a position where they can achieve this in a twenty year period or less.
Level 5–The majority of our senior citizens is either nearing retirement or is there. If they have not managed their earned income properly, it will be difficult for it to work for them. At this juncture, options are somewhat limited. Recently, when I was teaching the Dare to be a Millionaire Seminar, ages of participants in the room ranged from 19 – 71. As we moved into the discussion phase of the program, my 71 year old participant asked a most revealing and yet pertinent question. “What can I do? she asked, “When I’m on a fixed income?”
It is a most fair question for all of our seniors. First, of all, our seniors are not at a loss for creativity, innovation and experience. The greatest wellspring of knowledge lies in the hearts, minds and souls of our seniors. This is where the “real wealth” is hidden. What they have accomplished throughout the years is what shines as a beacon of light on the path which the rest of us may follow. Whether we look to history and model such financial giants as the great billionaire industrialist Henry Kaiser or the great Steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie or Napoleon Hill who wrote the masterpiece, Think and Grow Rich which has served as an inspiration to many of today’s millionaires, or whether we look for guidance from our modern money moguls like Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Susie Ormond, Robert Kiyasoki and numerous others, one thing is clear. They all serve as an embodiment of hope and they show that the acquisition of great wealth both internally and externally is indeed a reality.
Therefore, take the time as a senior to learn as much as you can and as the old adage says, “Work from where you are with what you have until you get to where you want to be.” Maintain your faith and remain steadfast and diligent in all of your endeavors. There are two things I’d like you to remember. “It’s not what you make; it’s what you do with what you make that really counts and the other is just essentially a blatant reality that all of us should take to heart. “He who has not developed the present day habit of saving will have no money in the future.” So, the questions are, “What do you want your economic future to look like?” and “What actions are you willing to take to make that happen?”