I will empower myself, and others, to succeed.
– Gregory Downing
It has taken us generations to get where our nation is economically at present; thus the problems we face today will not be solved overnight. Although we are the ones who will teach our children financial literacy, it is the generations to come that will save this country and restore its overall financial stability.
I want you to settle for more. I want you to create a new normal for yourself, your friends, your family, future generations, and the world.
– Toniraye Freeman
Although the seeds of greatness and legacy were planted in my mind at a very early age, I did not understand about creating generational wealth. It was my mother who actually drew the line in the sand and made a decision to make a change for our entire family. She began the process of reprogramming her thinking (her beliefs about wealth accumulation and money) by taking adult effectiveness classes and then obtaining her financial education. Within two years she had become financially free and independent. She then began passing those ideas and concepts on to our entire family, including me. Therefore, the legacy for our family began with her. Ultimately, this has changed not only our lives, but tens of thousands of our students’ lives, because several of us have not only practiced what we learned but taught it to others as well.
Our economy is in a state of crisis. Not only are we at risk but the futures of upcoming generations (our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews) are also uncertain. Imagine having the ability to quickly begin generating low-risk income with your children and loved ones working at your side. Imagine the team you could create together. Imagine knowing that when you are gone, your heirs will not only inherit wealth that you leave behind but also the entrepreneurial knowledge you have shared with them during your lifetime.
I will always remember that my mind
is a wealth-building machine.
Since your mind is a wealth-building machine, you must make a commitment to start feeding the machine. In fact, as you are reading the words of this book you have already started this process. As you become financially free, you will also be teaching your family how to become wealth-building machines. I am not talking about teaching your family members a trade or skill that they may or may not wish to pursue. I am talking about teaching them how to make money, in much the same way that you taught them how to ride a bike or bake a cake. This education will be a process, and this book is the beginning for many of you as you begin learning to build wealth. Having the knowledge and the skills to generate large amounts of income over a lifetime and achieve financial freedom is a lesson that you may not have learned from your parents, but it is a lesson that can be taught. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen in direct correlation to the amount of time you devote to learning the lessons of wealth building.
I will invest in a financial education program
to master the skills of being an entrepreneur.
The reality is that the familiar mantra of “go to school, get good grades, and then get a good job” didn’t work too well for most of us; it isn’t working at all for our children.
– Gregory Downing
Just as it was our responsibility to teach and prepare our children for their first day of school, it is also our responsibility to teach and prepare them for their lives as fiscally responsible, self-reliant adults. The problem is that we were not prepared or educated to handle the “new normal,” issues of today’s financial situations and economy, much less build wealth in the midst of the current financial insecurity and chaos. While the current educational system has worked to some extent for highly educated specialists (when it comes to learning skills that will generate large single incomes), even this group is facing ever-growing challenges when it comes to financial growth, literacy, and the power of multiple income streams.
Before there’s any misunderstanding about what I am saying, let me be perfectly clear; I’m not saying that I don’t want your children to attend college. In today’s world, they will need to be very well educated. What I’m saying is that our traditional educational system isn’t all they need. I want my son and daughters to graduate from college, but they will go to the university armed with a solid financial education in place and already be well on their way toward creating financial independence. Imagine your children studying anything they were passionate about, without the fear of graduating and being dependent upon using that education to try to find a job so they could spend their lives trading their time for money and making their bosses rich.
It is my life’s work and commitment to support you in teaching the next generation how to take control of their financial lives by teaching them entrepreneurial skills that no one knew how to teach us.
– Toniraye Freeman
The educational system that is currently in place is not designed to prepare young people to become financially self-reliant, nor does it teach the skills of financial literacy. It is instead built around preparing its graduates to “get good jobs.” In the world of corporate downsizing and cutbacks, there are not nearly enough good jobs out there for the graduates to “get.”
A Boston Globe article has published statistics from a Collegegrad.com survey that states 80% of 2008 college graduates are returning home to live with their parents following their educations—compared to 63% in 2006! They are afraid for their future, and the unemployment rate for young people in their early twenties is more than 15%. We can help them take control of their futures by teaching them the entrepreneurial skills that no one knew how to teach us. The
good part of this story is that we are also witnessing stronger bonds and better relationships, overall, between young adults and their parents. This provides the perfect opportunity for you to work together with your family members and build a legacy of wealth generation that they can then pass on to their children when the time comes.
In previous generations (during the Agricultural and Industrial Ages), we had a prototype of a way of life that mentored our descendants; a blacksmith taught his son the skills he had learned from his own father and then passed on that business at the end of his life so his son had a way to earn a living. We must recreate and certainly upgrade that model using a different set of skills not just so that our own retirements and financial lives are secure but so that we leave a legacy of wealth and knowledge to future generations. That is the true meaning of legacy.
Financial Literacy Legacy: 1a heritage that is transmitted from an ancestor or predecessor from earlier generations that relates to financial literacy and income generation through multiple streams of income.
2Instilling in your loved ones, the ability to understand the process of wealth generation.
The system I have created works—for my family and for the people I have taught throughout the United States. It is doable and one that can be passed on, so that your children and their children have a knowledge base built on proven principles of skilled wealth building. This knowledge base is both sustainable and able to grow. This formula also has the benefit of having the three different types of income supporting it. We will discuss the three types of income in Chapter Three, but for now it is simply important to understand that earned income, passive income, and portfolio income are all generated with this system—and they build upon each other.
Throughout the book I use diagrams of pyramids to illustrate the parts, steps, and processes that go into creating a legacy of wealth. The following pyramid is just one example of various diagrams I am using to explain the components of entrepreneurship. The first one, The Legacy Unleashed Pyramid, illustrates the thinking and planning stages of your Future Mapping process.
Becoming committed to creating a legacy for yourself and the people you love changes the way you will approach entrepreneurship and moves you from the level of “starting a business” to “building a life of wealth.” This means that you will not open a stream of income (a business) for the sole purpose of creating your next week’s paycheck; you will begin a stream of income as a commitment to building longterm wealth, and that business will be one piece of your overall portfolio of income streams.
Look closely at the components of this pyramid. Imagine that your entire family is committed to this process and each of you are holding that commitment with a strong burning desire, with a mission and a vision for the future, and you each possess the faith that you will move courageously in the direction of your vision for the future. Imagine what you could accomplish if each and every one of you were 100%committed to creating a legacy of wealth, not just for yourselves, but also for the generations to come!
Creating a commitment to building wealth and passing along that knowledge to others entails different goals than the goals of a small business owner. Your intention and vision are much different; you will be developing yourself into a leader instead of a worker, and your contribution to your family will be more than just money. The base of the pyramid is the foundation—the most important part—because it bears the weight of the entire structure. Study the diagram above and notice the elements it contains.
The stages of wealth building are often overlooked when a business owner opens a new business. This is because their motivations for opening a business are often misdirected or not carefully thought through. A true entrepreneur does not typically open a business because of scarcity issues (loss of a job), or even because he or she is passionate about that particular form of income (although passion can be a driving force).
Entrepreneurs instead look for unmet needs in their society and choose opportunities that are in alignment with building wealth. I often say, “Build your business to make money, so you can live your passion!” That does not mean your values, vision, mission, commitment, goals, or plan are not done with a sense of passion—what I’m conveying here is that entrepreneurs are passionate about building wealth, rather than baking cakes or wiring houses.
Since I am going to use the metaphor of pyramids throughout this book, it will be beneficial to consider the reasons I chose them as my model. The Egyptian pharaohs had pyramids built because of their enduring power, and they were often referred to as houses of eternity. The most common pyramid types are either three- or four-sided structures that face every direction, just as your streams of income will cover all aspects of your financial goals: immediate cash for current needs, longterm wealth for retirement, legacy generation for your heirs, and money for the extras in life that you enjoy.
The ancient pyramids were built of large blocks of stone on the inside, while the outside of the structures were covered in gleaming white limestone to provide smooth surfaces and a polished appearance. The tops of many of them were then covered in gold that glowed with iridescent facets that could be seen many miles away.
The pyramids were built for the pharaohs, but they certainly didn’t do the work—they dreamed up the finished product (vision) and used skilled specialists to engineer the planning (your power team specialists) and slave laborers to handle the heavy work. Much went into the vision (the pharaohs); the structural planning, oversight, and execution of the plan (the specialists); and the quarrying and building (the laborers and specialists).
The work that is done in today’s world continues to echo this division of labor. There are basically three types of workers in our society— the royalty (the wealthy investors and entrepreneurs), the specialists (builders, engineers, architects, doctors, attorneys, etc.), and the slave laborers (the employees).
By virtue of your reading this book and then making a commitment to yourself and your family, you are committing to becoming an entrepreneur and an investor—royalty. Review and study The Wealth Unleashed Pyramid for a few moments. What portion of the pyramid represents where you are currently earning your living and attempting to build your wealth at the present time? What part of the pyramid will your children get their money from when they are adults?
The pyramids were not built in a day, a week, or even a month. Most estimates put the time at approximately 20 years from start to finish. Your wealth building will also be a process, with time spent on the vision, the gathering of knowledge, the making of choices for your streams of income, and the choosing of the types of income you wish to generate. From there, steps will be taken to ensure the accuracy and stability of the work that needs to be done before the doors ever open on your businesses. One example of this relates to your asset protection system—which you will need to plan and execute before you sell your first widget, serve your first dinner, or invest in your first real estate deal.
Pyramids, with their triangularity, are the strongest shapes in the world. They are rigid, able to stand freely over tremendously long periods of time, and have the strength to support immense weight. In fact, what makes a pyramid so strong is its ability to withstand the forces of gravity—both compression and tension from external forces. Your business pursuits will be the same way—regardless of what is occurring in the economy—when you have built your businesses upon a solid foundation. When you do that, you and those you care the most about will not only survive but be shining examples of financial independence.
The secret to building a pyramid lies in the distribution of weight, with the majority of the base’s mass at the bottom. The major reason for a pyramid’s strength relates to the perfect alignment and integration of all its components. The Legacy Unleashed Pyramid represents your long-term, overall, and abiding vision and mission. It will serve not only you, but others. Its components will keep you moving in the right direction, whether you are tired, discouraged, or you face obstacles that seem especially challenging or even insurmountable. The components of this pyramid will also be a reflection of your values and your goals. Just as every stone supports another stone once the base of a pyramid is in place, your values will be of tremendous importance and drive your decisions about your businesses.
Each angle and the rise of the walls in the ancient pyramids took more than just planning—they required tremendous attention to detail. Too many stressed out and unhappy small business owners hire employees to jump into building a business and miss the important steps of planning, evaluating, and structuring their businesses. In other words, you must “think it” before you can “do it.” In addition, communication was of paramount importance in the building of the ancient pyramids. All the people who were involved needed to work toward the same goals with total commitment and determination. Building wealth will require the same type of diligence and perseverance.
Consider, for a moment, the various theories about the reason for the pharaohs having a vision for the building of the pyramids. One idea that is widely accepted relates to the pinnacle, or top, of the structures. While it is accepted that the structures are burial places, the reasoning behind the acceptance of this idea as a fact is less widely known. A theory that is gaining much attention is that the pyramids were seen as “resurrection machines,” and at the top of the pyramid there is almost always a small window that allows the stars to shine directly toward the center, or heart, of the structures.
This theory holds that through the process of the light shining down on the pharaoh’s tomb, his body would transcend to heavenly places—he would be resurrected. The same is true for your pyramids of legacy and wealth—through the process of building your own pyramids of business and wealth, you will be immortalized through your heirs as they pass on the knowledge and financial intelligence that you have shared with them during your lifetime. When your time is done on this earth, do you want to be known as somebody who made it in life or somebody who made a difference in life? My vision for you is to be the one in your family who forged a pathway of financial independence and then shared that commitment with future generations that you may never know.
Your wealth-and income-building pyramids are also going to be “resurrection machines” as we work to restore the life in our economy and as we personally gain control of our finances. Let your knowledge penetrate your businesses and allow it to alter the dynamic of the operation. In a society where hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs, see your endeavors as a way to restore and build wealth, not only for your family and the generations that will come long after you are gone, but also for the families of those who you come into close contact with—your friends, employees, power team members, customers, tenants, and acquaintances.