Saturday 1 October 2016

Six early signs to help predict if your child will be a budding entrepreneur

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

'Parents often cling to signs that their children will be a genius of some sort, whether that be financial, musical or artistic. A child who is good with money is more likely to lead a comfortable life as an adult'
'Parents often cling to signs that their children will be a genius of some sort, whether that be financial, musical or artistic. A child who is good with money is more likely to lead a comfortable life as an adult'

My three-year-old son insists on counting each piece in a jigsaw puzzle when he is making one. He repeats this exercise from start to finish - after each piece he adds to the puzzle. It takes hours to make a jigsaw with him.

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Play Snakes and Ladders with him and he'll get a six at each throw of the dice - without even trying. Leave a wallet within his reach and he'll be running off in seconds - having filled his pockets with coins. "The accountant of the family," quips my father. "He'll be a millionaire by the time he's 16," says my mum.

Parents often cling to signs that their children will be a genius of some sort, whether that be financial, musical or artistic. A child who is good with money is more likely to lead a comfortable life as an adult - and to be less of a financial burden on their parents. So, are there any early signs that your child will be a financial whizz?

They can wait for a sweet

In the 1960s, the Stanford University Professor Walter Mischel ran a study known as the 'Marshmallow Test'. In his research, a child was offered the choice between one marshmallow immediately - or two marshmallows if he waited for about 15 minutes. The children who were able to wait longer - so they could get the two marshmallows - tended to go on to lead more successful lives.

"Children with self-discipline and the ability to put off things for the prospect of better gains may be better with money," said John Sharry, founder of parenting website, solutiontalk.ie.

They save their pocket money

A child who is cautious with their pocket money is more likely to save it. This could be a sign that they'll be good with money.

"Children who are more spendthrift spend everything immediately and don't think of the consequences," said Mr Sharry. Like everything in life, impulsive decisions aren't always the best - so a child who spends impulsively might not be the best at managing their money later in life and could be more likely to land themselves in credit card or other debt.

They are good at maths

"You'd expect children who are good with mathematics and arithmetic to get the mechanics of money early on," said Mr Sharry. "Children who are good at organising money could be good at managing it later in life."

They get their homework done on time

Some parenting experts believe that a child who consistently forgets or is late doing their homework is more likely to be late paying bills in later life. So a child who gets their homework in on time will probably pay their bills on time - and by extension, be less likely to fall into debt. Which has got to be a good thing...

They are full of themselves

There is little point in being good with money if you can't make it in the first place. So a child who shows the traits of an entrepreneur from a young age could go on to set up a successful business - and to be very wealthy.

Ross Levine is an American economist at the University of California at Berkeley who has run a number of studies to identify the traits in a young person which makes them more likely to become an entrepreneur. He examined individuals between the ages of 14 and 20.

"Entrepreneurs tend to have very high self-esteem and believe they largely control their future rather than fate and circumstances playing a dominant role," said Mr Levine.

"This is consistent with the view that they initiate a change and they need quite a bit of confidence to implement it and perseverance to succeed. They tend to come from high-income, two-parent families. This is consistent with family wealth playing a big role and, perhaps, that family stability gives them the security to try something different."

They break the rules

A clever child who refuses to take 'no' for an answer - or who disobeys you behind your back - could well be the entrepreneur of the family. Entrepreneurs are smart and illicit, according to Mr Levine's research.

"It is not just that they are smart and get high IQ-type scores, they also tend to get in trouble as youths - they are rule breakers," said Mr Levine. "They are more likely to try drugs, alcohol, and so on. They are more likely to steal and get in trouble in school.

"The key point here is the combination of being both smart and illicit. Among not very smart people, those that are more illicit in their youths tend not to be entrepreneurs or successful ones. Among the 'nerds' (those that do not get into trouble when they are young), the smarter ones do not tend to become entrepreneurs or successful ones - they become doctors, lawyers, managers, scientists, and so on.

"It is the combination of smart and illicit tendencies that predicts becoming an entrepreneur - and success as one."

Sunday Indo Business

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