Our children are going to have to ‘do money’ differently when they get older. The economy has been shifting for many years now, moving from employee driven to entrepreneur driven. Our Camp Millionaire program helps kids learn to invest in the Three Pillars of Wealth and building businesses is one of those pillars. Changing the paradigm through which kids view making and earning money (they are not the same thing) is critical now. Recent stats say that up to 47% of the US population will be self-employed in some way by the year 2014. We have to get kids (and adults) thinking in a whole new way.

One of the best things you can do for your kids is get them thinking about all of their ideas relative to this question…”Is this an idea that could be turned into some type of business?” You wouldn’t believe how easy this actually is. Here’s what I did recently with one of the two daughters I didn’t have to give birth to! Her name is Jessica and she’s lived next door since she was one year old. I have a vested interest in preparing her for her future since she’s my pseudo daughter so I tend to go out of my way to encourage her to think differently.

We were sitting having dinner at my kitchen table after seeing the movie, Mamma Mia, with Meryl Streep (wonderful movie by the way!). We often have girl nights so we get time to talk just the two of us. We started talking about money for some reason. Out of the blue I asked her to look around the room. She did. I then asked her what I ask everyone who comes to my Camp Millionaire, Train-the-Trainer and Creative Wealth for Women programs, “What was everything in this room before it was the thing that it is today?”

At first, in my programs, there are blank stares hinting the participants have no clue as to the answer to the simple question. I rephrase the question, “Everything in this was something before it came into being. Who can tell me what that one thing was?” Wheels start turning. Answers begin to pop out, “Energy, wood, paint, raw materials, nails, oil, fabric, and on and on.” I give them another clue, “And before that?” More answers as before and I tap my head with my hands. Someone notices and says, surprised and proud to have figured out the answer, “Oh, they were all IDEAS!” I reward them with a resounding, “Yes, you’re right!” and hand them a Moola or two (the camp money we use in all our programs…highly valued during camp because whoever gets the most in the youth programs gets a $50 savings bond and there’s a nice prize attached in the adult programs as well. Can you say massage?).

So, Jessica and I go through this conversation and she finally gets the ‘idea.’ (Sorry for the pun).

Next step…”So, Jessica, do you get ideas?” “Yes,” she replied, “all the time!” “Do you ever say anything like, ‘Why doesn’t someone create a…’, or, ‘That would work better if someone changed it to work like…” and so on. She looked at me and a smile crept across her beautiful face, “Yes, just a couple of days ago I said something like that!” I had her thinking now.

Next, we talked about what ideas she was aware of that had made people millions of dollars: velcro, zippers, post-its, clocks, pans, dish soap (keep in mind, we were in my kitchen), etc. She was able to come up with tons of things. Then I asked her the best question, “So, do you have a million dollar question inside of you?” She never missed a beat. “YES!”

The wasn’t a doubt in this little 10-year old’s mind that she would come up with her own million dollar idea; and it would be an idea that would change the world or help people or entertain people by making them laugh or something else of value since that’s how her parents have raised her. I watched her mind think and think and think and I am confident that this is one child that won’t go through high school and college thinking she has to get a job! She’ll create her own way and take plenty of people with her.

And speaking of jobs, let me share a side conversation we had on our way to the movie earlier that night. She has a friend who has a 15 year old brother named Harrison who is an affiliate marketer (this means he makes money marketing other people’s stuff on the internet). You can watch his video here.

Well, seems Harrison is pretty well-known in this crowd for being the young money mogul and he loves it (you can tell from the video:-)! Jessica is impressed by him so on our way to the movie we started talking about college because Harrison sees no need for it and at 15 already knows that the information he’s being force fed in school isn’t leading him toward creating the life he wishes to have for himself or success for that matter. More and more, we’re realizing that college isn’t the answer to success in life, however success happens to be measured by the individual. There’s enough wealthy people in the world who never finished or even went to college to show that it’s not the college education that leads to success, it’s the person. Specifically, it’s through teaching kids how to be successful that leads to their success, as over simplified as it sounds.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think going to college is a great thing for kids, however, there’s at least two big IT DEPENDS attached to that statement.

1. It depends on how much debt the child will be straddled with upon graduation, and
2. It depends on whether the degree is directly related to a specific career the student wants to go in to as an adult (e.g, lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc.).

The topic of college prompted me to ask Jessica what she thought about college teaching people to be successful. Well, knowing how Harrison felt about school, she quickly stated that it probably doesn’t have anything to do with one’s success in life. She is right, it doesn’t.

Now, if you’re one of the millions of parents who can’t even consider your child NOT going to college, please reconsider. Ask yourself WHY you think this way. You might be surprised at how you answer yourself. There’s probably a lot of history in terms of your own parents wanting YOU to go to college for one reason or another; wanting you to get a better job with better pay and more security (THAT doesn’t happen now) or more benefits. But those reasons aren’t necessarily valid anymore. So, I will repeat…please reconsider why you believe this. College is simply A way, not THE way. Ask yourself if could encourage your teen to think about starting a business, learning how to marketing on the internet, start a service, read books on investing in the three pillars mentioned above (real estate, business, stock market), take them to seminars with you (if you’re like me, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew you could do to make money!). And speaking of seminars, Peak Potentials, Millionaire Mind Intensive is a great place to start.

So, enough for Sunday morning. I have a website to work on and books to write and lives to improve (oh, and my kitty to pet as she is keeping me company right now, waiting patiently for her turn). Have a great day and have the Idea Conversation with your kids very soon!