This past weekend, I was out running errands with two of my children and I could not believe what happened. I actually had to call my husband and my mom right away to share the story because I was so stunned. Here’s what my youngest son, Christopher, taught me about reaching financial goals.
A little context first
Christopher has worn glasses since he was 18 months old. Why is this important? People have always fussed over how cute he is in his glasses. As a result, he has absolutely no problem talking to anyone who will listen. And he is incredibly persistent so even if you might not want to listen right off the bat, he is still likely to reel you into a conversation. Over the years, I have had many people say that he reminds them of the little boy in the movie Jerry Maguire.
Christopher (now 6 years old) decided that he wants a cell phone. Mind you, he does not want the cell phone to make calls or text his friends (he is still learning to read!), he wants it to play games but I digress. Because he is very clear on exactly what he wants, I told him that if he earns the money to buy a phone, he can have one.
How does a six-year-old earn money?
Christopher has since decided that he is going to open a lemonade stand in order to save enough money to buy himself a phone. He is very committed to this business idea and has been talking about it for days – planning things like the type of lemonade he will serve, where he will put his stand, and debating with his siblings about how much he should charge for each cup of lemonade. He is really excited about his stand and even more excited about his future cell phone.
Here’s what happened…
On Saturday, we walked into a clothing store where the sales associate greeted us upon entry. Christopher took this as an invitation to share his plans with the woman. As my daughter and I shopped for a few much-needed items, Christopher passionately shared his plans to open a lemonade stand and ultimately purchase a cell phone. He engaged in conversation with the saleswoman for almost the entire time we were in the store.
As we were checking out, the woman excused herself briefly and then returned a few moments later. She explained to Christopher that when someone wants to open a new business, they often seek investors to help them get started. She then handed him $20 and told him that she wanted to be his first investor. I was stunned, to say the least. I could not believe that a virtual stranger handed my six-year-old $20 to start his lemonade stand. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me!
What does this story have to do with you reaching your financial goals?
There is a lot that we can take away from the story about Christopher and his angel investor. Here are my takeaways as it relates to reaching your financial goals:
#1 Clarify your financial goals
First and foremost, Christopher is crystal clear on his financial goal. That kid knows exactly what he wants. For some of us, this can take a little more work. For example, is your financial goal to retire early? If so, when is that? What do you want to do in your retirement? How much money will you need to live on? The clearer your goal, the better your plan will be to reach that goal.
#2 Network everywhere
Networking is not limited to boring business events. It’s about making real connections with others and you can do that anywhere. Networking is also not about selling. Christopher was not trying to sell the saleswoman a cup of lemonade nor was he asking for money. He was engaging someone in an honest conversation about what was on his mind.
#3 Don’t be afraid to share your financial goals with others!
Last week I gave a presentation on creating a financial plan that withstands life’s trials. I was talking to the attendees about the power of writing down your financial goals and speaking them aloud. I encouraged everyone who was willing to take that opportunity to share their financial goals with the other attendees.
You might meet some haters (I’ll tell you about his sister’s reaction some other time) but you will also meet many who are excited for you and want to help you to succeed. Christopher was lucky enough to connect with just such a person last Saturday.
#4 Accept help when it’s offered.
If I had not been so stunned at the store, my gut reaction would have been to tell the woman that we could not accept her generous gift. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because it really was not my place to do so. Her interaction was with Christopher the whole time. She knew exactly what she was doing and her generosity made a really big impact on him.
I think there’s a lot we can learn from this savvy six-year-old. I also hope his angel investor knows what an impression she made as I am truly grateful for her generosity. I’ll be sure to post a picture of Christopher’s lemonade stand on our Facebook page so check back.
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