What Real Estate Investors can Learn from a 12 Year Old

kid-with-bike-featureIt doesn’t take a socio-economic analyst to realize that we have moved into a globalized, constantly plugged in digital culture… And those professionals who deal with website views, sales for digital multimedia devices and e readers know that sales are BOOMING, and only improving. People now get most of their news, products and entertainment online. Traditional broadcast radio is now heard almost exclusively at restaurants, in people’s vehicles and by and older crowd. The mainstream radio market is now being dominated by either satellite or streaming music apps like Pandora and Spotify. Even within the movie/ video game rental niche, once booming brick and mortar rental businesses are now closing shop due to web based service providers that stream entertainment.

This issue affects us daily, yet we rarely acknowledge it. How and why people use the internet has a huge impact on our kids, our employees, our investors, our mentorees, etc. Is all the endless online amounts of information now available at our fingertips a positive or a negative thing? I look at the internet as a tool. A car is a “tool” – to get us to places we need to be. A gun is a “tool” – to use to defend ourselves if we have to. But far too often, accidents with guns and cars kill people – making the inanimate object appear to be the problem. When in reality, it was the minds of the users all along. The same is true with internet use. It is the way we use this tool that defines us as a culture. It seems to me that we too often become dependent on technology, and some young people don’t value hard work with all this tech right at their fingertips.

I have a great story about a hard-working man that learned this lesson at a young age that reflects this idea.

12 Year Old Boy:  “DAD … Can you please buy me a Mongoose bike? The one with the pegs on the side so I can do tricks!

Dad: “Now son, you know I love you, but that bike is very expensive. If I buy it for you just like that, no questions asked, no work involved, either you won’t appreciate it, or it will get stolen.

12 Year Old Boy:But Dad, I do appreciate my toys and I promise I will care for it! I will put a chain on it to lock it up everywhere I go.”

Dad:NO! If you want the bike that bad, you can work for it and earn it. Then I’ll even buy the chain for you.”

So the boy started cutting grass for all of his neighbors. After a few months, he had enough money to buy the sweet Mongoose bike. And SO much more. The boy was empowered with a strong work ethic. Dad’s stern NO to the 12 year old could have been one of the biggest motivators in his life.

That kid was ME. I ended up being a millionaire real estate investor later on in life… Coincidence?

I wanted that bike, badly enough to work for it. I quickly learned the value of hard work and accomplishment. I learned that if I worked hard enough, believed in myself, and “played the game” properly, I could have whatever I wanted.


Technology, gadgets and toys do not make us happy, they only make specific parts of our lives more convenient, efficient or entertaining. I am in awe of the possibilities this technology provides for us. But I am worried that kids will grow up taking what they have for granted, and therefore not appreciating it. So it’s a double edged sword to me: on on hand, the future looks extremely bright and promising.


On the other, what we as a society are moving towards (poorer work ethics and more dependency on the system) does worry me quite a bit. I am worried that people won’t properly value, appreciate or even understand all the amazing technology they have available to them.


If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this

  • We need to teach our young people to value to cost of the item
  • Appreciate the work that went into earning it
  • Too many people want instant gratification when it takes WORK to succeed
  • A strong work ethic from a young age helped propel me into the investor I am today
  • It’s okay to be in awe of this amazing tech, just don’t be dependent on it

What are your thoughts on this issue? Comment below and keep the conversation going!

Keep it steady and keep your hands on the handlebars. Believe in YOU and you can ACHIEVE with YOU!

Stay healthy and wealthy, my friends.

Franklin A. Cruz
“America’s Real Estate Mentor aka the REI Drill Sergeant”