My 6 Year Old Asks; Where’s The ROI Dad?

I have been doing my best to teach my kids about being smart with money, especially with everything thats going on lately in the economy.  It wasn’t until I was in my twenties (I’m 32 now) that I learned what ROI even stood for (Return On Investment).

I want to make sure my kids understand money differently then I did growing up and understand what it means to be in business and build wealth, instead of just making money for an employer, and making them rich.  I was taught you finish high school, get a degree, find a company and work for that same company for the next 40 years until you retire making 10k more per year then what you started at … no thanks!

Well as all 6 year olds do – my son is always asking me for money for this toy or that and I have simply been starting to ask him where the ROI is for me to just keep giving him money for toys?  It took him a little while to catch on to what I was doing but now he is giving me answers like, “I will clean all of my room and you won’t have to keep telling me to keep cleaning” or “I will pick up all the toys downstairs without any help”.  So you see he has figured out that I am more willing to give him some money for toys, or just buy him toys if he shows more willingness to do some work.  He understands that cleaning up is my return on the investment etc.  He has even started to clean stuff up on his own without being asked, and thats amazing!

Don’t peg me for a hard core, because I don’t always make my kid “earn stuff” but I just wanted to start getting him (and my other kids) thinking differently (like I stated above).

Where is the ROI Dad?
Where is the ROI Dad?

All this came back to bite me in the butt today!  Here in the Phoenix area we have some amazing weather this time of year, and we were outside working on the yard and starting to get the pool ready.  My son kept putting his feet in the water and saying he wanted to swim – almost teasing me that he was going to jump in.  I finally just asked him to jump in because I didn’t think he would.  I even told him the water temp was only at 66 and he knows we usually are swimming at like 82 – 85 degrees.  I kept telling him that he wouldn’t do it etc., and that he was chicken (just egging him on) and he then asks me;  Well if you want me to jump in, where’s the ROI Dad?  HUH?  What kind of a 6 year old asks that?  LOL!

It took me by surprise, and pleased me that he really is listening and now seems to really understand what I have been trying to teach him.   Well once we established I was going to give him a dollar to jump in and swim from the rocks to the other side of the pool – it was on!

When he jumped in – you should have seen the look on his face (kinda captured here), I don’t think he expected 66 degree water to feel that cold!  Plus its not summer and its not over 100 outside – so IT WAS COLD.  He wanted to keep doing it after he got his dollar and kept trying to see if I would give him a dollar every time he did it.  When he kept wanting to swim because he said it wasn’t cold anymore I decided he needed to get out because I was sure his body was just numb at this point.  Last year, my last swim was in about 71 degrees (still in 90s during day) and THAT was still WAY to cold for me!  I can’t imagine how cold this was.

A lesson to be learned:

This is NOT a lesson of greed, or love of money, but rather an idea for you to start thinking about the return on your investments.  It’s also a good lesson for you kids too (if you have been looking for ideas to teach them about money) But with that said – If you are investing time, money, or whatever – what are you getting out of it?

Start to think smarter about the things you are investing your time and money in.  Everytime I take on a new client, or think of a new idea to pursue the very first thing I will think about is the ROI.  Its not always about money either – it can be about time too.  My kids are young and I want to spend as much time as I can with them, and if I am evaluting a possible new project but its going to kill all my time, I would rather make less money and have more time.  This is a personal decision and I am not saying its the only choice, but for me its the best ROI.

Anyway – not really wanting this post to be much of a lesson or anything – just wanted to share what I thought was a cute story of something that happened to me today.  If you get something out of it – great, if you got a laugh – great, if you hated it – thats ok too!  Hopefully though, most of you who read this will feel like you did get some kind of a “ROI” for your reading time, and thanks to my son for providing yet another amazing story!

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