Every time I see an episode of the Dragon's Den now, I feel a special connection to Kevin O'Leary. His throat-cutting remarks, which send innocent entrepreneurs running, have a sudden appeal to me now. And I can sum it up using a line from his current book: It's as if I am speaking to you as money.
Kevin is cold about money, but why is that so strange? We humans are a touchy-feely bunch and we connect personal feelings to living beings and inanimate things. We often make decisions about money based on our feelings, moods and state of mind.
I found that as I read through Kevin's book Cold, Hard, Truth, the topics he writes about really resonated with me. By understanding how your choices can influence your money's well-being, you can determine if that money will grow or not.
Kevin is all about making money grow. He says "whatever you pay attention to grows" So if you pay attention to negativity, it breeds more negativity which infects whatever you're working on. And money will flee that inhospitable environment.
Moms know best
Kevin talks about the ups and downs of his own entrepreneurial life, and offers tips on becoming a good employee and how to be a good boss. He also discusses how he transformed his investment style and went back to his roots. After some low times, he started O'Leary Funds based on his mother's investment philosophy - one that had her live a financially stable life.
The Kevin O'Leary story from the producers of Dragon's Den
His mother, Georgette, inherited her father's company after he died of a sudden heart attack. A savvy woman, she had to learn managing a business from scratch and quickly learned that money meant freedom, and she opened her own bank account. As a young woman myself, it felt good to hear about another woman from a different era who knew it was important to take care of herself. She knew how important her own money was, and always spent the interest - not the principle.
Her investment strategy was pretty simple. She only invested in stocks that paid a dividend or interest, and regularly saved a third of her paycheck. She knew that in order for money to grow, you couldn't touch it - doing so would produce the same results as opening the oven when you're baking a cake. Failure.
When Kevin's mother passed away in 2008, he was surprised to learn that that she had amassed a significant nest egg despite having been divorced, re-married and often generous to her family. He assumed her savings would nearly be gone. He marveled at his mother's ingenuity and while his own money was taking a beating, hers steadily grew.
Being a dragon
This turn of events had him re-evaluate his own financial investments, fire his money managers and take over himself. He offers investment advice in his book and it's not dissimilar to his advice in the Dragon's Den. Watch the news. Understand we live in a global economy. Look for warning signs.
Regardless if you agree with every criticism he launches in the Dragon's Den, it's hard to ignore the sound advice that has made him a better venture capitalist. If I was extroverted enough to work tirelessly through airports, meetings, networking events and spend my life on the go, I might even follow in his footsteps. Instead, the best I can hope for is to take the core of his advice and try to apply it to my own finances. Maybe you will too.
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