We all spend too much time complaining about the "other" generation. For instance, we Boomers call Millennials the "Me" generation, a cohort of young 20- and 30-somethings that would rather leave their desks at 5:00 p.m. for a yoga class than stay late to finish a project at the office. This scenario is shocking to most Boomers, present company included, because it wouldn't even dawn on us to choose yoga over work. The lesson: Each generation has specific values that the other generations can learn from.
The generation gap was certainly present in my childhood (and into my young adulthood). I vividly remember lamenting that my parents didn't understand me. I was marching against the Vietnam War, walking around in tattered bell-bottoms and trying to peer through my way-too-long bangs that were plastered to my head with a tie-dyed headband. I could barely look at my parents without rolling my eyes. They thought that I was going to grow up singing "Kumbaya" and never work for a living. Alas, here I am, the generation that did become workaholics. Despite the angst of our parents, we kept our noses to the grindstone to succeed, juggling work, kids, home... only to leave our own needs out of the mix.
Fast-forward 40 years and here we are today. But, this time, it is the Millennials' turn to roll their eyes and not understand how both work and play are equally as important to us. I must admit that I have fallen into the paradigm trap and have expressed frustration with my Millennial staff's perceived lack of commitment. The good news is that I have recently changed my perception as I began to mentor Jordan Berger, a Millennial entrepreneur. Jordan is in his early 20s and works for the MoneyShow, a company that gives investors a chance to connect with experts. I thought that I was mentoring Jordan with an entrepreneurial idea he had, but I soon discovered that he was also mentoring me.
Jordan, a born entrepreneur, was excited about the MoneyShow bringing together the experts and the investors, but he was concerned that they were, "preaching to the choir." He saw a need to get young people involved in investing, not only via education, but via low-cost ways to really invest. I found that together, as Boomer and Millennial, we became a very strong team. The key was to mutually banish our stereotypes and really listen and learn from each other.
My life's work has been to empower kids and their families to take charge of their financial lives. I bring over 40 years of experience to the table. I was one of the first female executives at the Chase Manhattan Bank in the early 1970s and President of The First Women's Bank in the 1980s. While there, I saw women disempowered handling their money, and my research showed that it was because they were never taught about money when they were kids. Teaching kids about money was not a topic taught in the '70s and '80s. In fact, when I looked for books to teach my own kids, I came up empty. So, when my child said, "Mommy, why don't you write the books?," I listened and started writing. Today, I have 27 books, including a New York Times No. 1 bestseller and three No. 1 educational gaming apps for kids that empower the wise handling of money.
My goal is that of Jordan's: to educate and give access to young people to learn, plan and invest for their future. I have teamed with a company called DriveWealth, a mobile investment platform dedicated to educating Millennials on the importance of investing while creating an affordable opportunity to invest in their financial futures. I am a Board of Advisors member and a consultant.
I was bringing Jordan my years of experience to help him sculpt his vision to create the MoneyShow University, which he has done. But, soon it became obvious that Jordan could help me with the new world of connectivity via social networking. Jordan's approach is fresh and new and he comes to entrepreneurship lacking any fear. He frankly makes me smile when I hear his enthusiasm, which is both sincere and real.
The plan developed to have DriveWealth partner with Jordan's MoneyShow University to give college students the real ability to invest. We could also work on scaling Jordan's MoneyShow University by bringing it virtually, online to college students all over the country. Jordan also found Wall Street Survivor, an online investment education provider to mutually connect with his MoneyShow University and with DriveWealth, and the rest is history.
What have I learned? Listen. Listen. Listen. Jordan has shown me how this makes a difference. What has Jordan learned? Listen. Listen. Listen.