- Written by webmin
- Published: 14 Sep 2010
Final Thoughts from a Banker and an Entrepreneur
As important as the information in this book may be, it’s only part of a much bigger picture. Success as a businessperson — regardless of field — depends on many components and learning how all the moving parts fit together can make the difference between success and failure. You won’t find many tips, traps or secrets highlighted in this chapter, as this chapter is almost completely advice which includes all of those.
Although Ron and Greg have similar values, their backgrounds couldn’t be more dissimilar. Greg has a BBA from Southern Methodist University and holds an MBA from Texas Christian University; Ron found himself living on his own as a teenager after his father’s death and is largely self-educated. As different as these two men are, both have earned success in their fields through hard work, a laser-sharp focus on their goals and the desire to constantly improve their skills and knowledge.
Their approaches are as different as their backgrounds, but both have plenty to say about building a successful business.
Final Lesson – Get Rich Slowly
Greg: One thing that ties together everything we’ve talked about is an understanding that the prosperity of any nation depends upon the prosperity of its people. We can’t do well as a country unless we learn to do well as individuals.
If America is a great nation, it’s because of the prosperity of the people. Right now, we’re not doing so well. Unemployment is up and a lot of people are facing hard times.
Debt can be your enemy, because it creates an illusion of wealth. You have debt so you get a loan and suddenly you don’t feel like you’re in debt any longer, because you have all this money available to you. I can tell you that banks hate to make debt consolidation loans, because after we put together a package and take care of those credit card bills, the next thing we see is that same customer is back needing a new loan, because now he or she has charged the cards all the way back up.
As a banker, when that happens, I realize that I should have practiced tough love the first time around and not made the loan. I should have made the customer learn instead. The point is that people who want to succeed and who want this country to succeed, have to learn to be good stewards of their money. They have to practice doing well with what they have before they think about someone lending them more.
Stewardship comes in a lot of ways. It means working harder than you’re paid to work. Your task, not the clock, should determine your quitting time. A good employee and a good businessperson, doesn’t work by the clock; he or she works to accomplish his or her goals.
Another place where I see people going wrong is that they don’t pay themselves. Every person should put 10 percent of his or her pay in some sort of savings account. If you start doing that right out of college, it’s easy to do for the rest of your life. But if you don’t do that from the time you get your first job, it’s going to be hard to turn into a habit. I’m telling you, though, that over time it’ll add up to a significant amount of money.
Another way to practice better stewardship of your money is to take advantage of your company’s 401(k) plan. If your company has a 401(k) plan and matches your contributions and you don’t take advantage of that, you’re crazy. That’s free money! If someone is handing you money, you can’t afford not to take it. Plus, it lowers your taxable income, so it benefits you all the way around. I have employees who’ll say that they just can’t afford to put that 6 percent of their income into the account; when I give them a raise, I try to get them to dedicate their raise to their 401k or other savings.