Money-Smart Kids/Let them watch TV
Published 4:12 pm, Tuesday, October 9, 2012
In many of your households, I'm hearing about the constant "battle" you have with your children on how much screen-time they are allowed. I'm starting to believe that a little television is a good thing -- especially if it can be educational.
One of our readers recently wrote me about the show "Shark Tank" on ABC, which profiles future entrepreneurs who are looking for funding for their business venture. I'd agree that this particular reality television show might be very helpful to build an entrepreneurial mindset in your children -- which I deem vital towards their financial education.
Let me tell you what "Shark Tank" is and then go into the valuable lessons it provides.
Would-be entrepreneurs walk through the double doors in route to presenting to four to six "Sharks" sitting in front of them. The "Sharks" are wealthy individuals who are proven success in developing and monetizing good business ideas. For example, one of the "Sharks" is Mark Cuban, internet billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
The panel of "Sharks" hears pitches for the best business and product ideas from some of America's brightest entrepreneurs, including start-ups and stay-at-home moms and dads. These simple yet brilliant ideas range from areas including children's products, music, sports, automotive and even the nightclub scene.
The value the "Sharks" bring to each contestant goes beyond the $50,000 to $500,000 capital infusion; more important are the contacts and experience that Sharks have that can push the project forward. The Sharks are searching to invest in the best products and businesses that America has to offer.
To date, the "Sharks" have offered over $6.2 million of their own money in investment deals to bankroll a creative array of innovative business ideas.
In this day and age, it is important to teach our children to be entrepreneurial-minded. Even if they'll never go on to actually own their own business, that way of thinking is crucial to not only moving up in a company, but holding one's position when the economy takes a downturn as it sometimes does. When companies are looking to lay employees off, they often retain those innovative thinkers that could be the future of their company.
Teaching your children the skill set of thinking like a potential business owner gives them an analytical methodology that will help them in many areas of their life.
If your children have outgrown having their own lemonade stand and are looking to satisfy their business drive, let them take a look at "Shark Tank" to stimulate that giant within their mind. Who knows, maybe letting them watch this television show might be the ticket to keeping them off your own payroll.
Tom Henske is a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm with offices in New York and Stamford. His "Money-Smart Kids" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.