By Dave Cummings, Candidate for Congress FL District 18
One day my son approached me wanting money. He was 10 years old. I told him at his age I started my first business mowing lawns in the neighborhood. I explained the process of how a business worked and he listened carefully. He said he didn’t want to mow lawns, but he would think about another business idea. A day later he came back and said he had an idea for a business. All of the kids at school were swapping Pokemon cards. The high value cards were going for $10 each and more.
His business plan involved going to Walmart and buying a box of Pokemon cards for $20. He said a friend told him four of the most sought after cards were found in the orange Pokemon box. So he explained that he would buy THAT box and make a large profit. I took him to Walmart and he bought the orange Pokemon box for $20 and he went to school the following day. Later on, he came back upset. It seems only two of the sought after cards were found in the box, not four. He was able to sell them to break even, but the other cards were too common to sell.
So we had an “after action review” of what went wrong. He thought long and hard and reached this conclusion: “I based my entire business idea on advice I couldn’t prove.” I smiled and said, “Son, you just learned one of the most important lessons in any business and you learned it with $20 instead of thousands.” I then commended him for breaking even. I explained how a good investor seeks out information to formulate a plan. With a good plan, a good investor will at least walk away without taking a financial loss; only time invested. But I also cautioned him on the MOST important lesson, “Time is more valuable than money, because no matter how much money you have – you can’t buy back time!” So I cautioned him to be careful where and how he invests his time.