As a father I spend a lot of time assisting with the building of more and more LEGO sets. I secretly love this activity and enjoy the quality non-screen time with my child. I have to admit one of the coolest aspects of being a Dad is reliving your own childhood in a way. Let’s just say I am becoming a special LEGO consultant because our child likes to do it herself, which I highly encourage. Dad has to step away so she can focus. As we work together I think back to the many long summer days spent constructing entire miniature worlds. The same practice and skill set is required to design the real big worlds all around us. I will always treasure the imaginative skill this developed in me.
As we engage with Legos I realize something very powerful about the entire experience. Life is built one LEGO brick at a time. This is how we advanced through school one assignment at a time, then one college class at a time, then earning one dollar at a time, etc. Our financial strength is also built with one “brick” at a time. The journey to a million dollars begins with that first LEGO brick.
The creations on the front of the boxes are beautiful and wonderful, kind of like the life you may aspire to. Truly creative and masterful designers have spent thousands of hours putting together some amazing designs. The imagining and design is the first phase. It is also the first step in building wealth. Imagine building that first $10k or $50k in investments. Imagine paying off the credit card, school loan or car loan. Imagine how much better you will sleep at night knowing you are positioning your family for strength and growth. Never underestimate the power of design that is all around us. This skill starts when children begin experimenting with things like Legos.
The more I study and learn about “getting rich” the more I realize that 99% of the time it is accomplished one colorful brick at a time. It is fun in stories to imagine a fairy godmother that flicks a magic wand and everything comes together, but while we wait for that to happen, it may be wise to start building Legos.
FINANCIAL LEGOS, SOME WAYS TO BUILD WEALTH ONE BRICK AT A TIME
There are many paths to building wealth, but it seems like the majority of the time it is built one LEGO brick at a time. Here are some examples of building “financial LEGO bricks”
1. Buy a few shares of a good quality dividend producing stock.
2. Buying a share of a low cost bond fund.
3. Putting $50 into your savings account before blowing it on something you may not need.
4. Putting some money into a high quality Real Estate Investment Trust.
5. Investing in a small business.
6. Taking a free online class that furthers your knowledge.
7. Spending quality time with family or friends that care about you, listen and are positive.
8. Doing some small thing for your health, take the stairs, take a walk, add some fruits and vegetables, use half the amount of sugar, etc.
9. Actually build an emergency fund so that next time the car or house need repairs you are not worried.
The word LEGO is derived from the Dutch “Leg godt” which means “play well”. I firmly believe a life of True Wealth involves playing well, and the irony is that this playing well translates to more productive and efficient work. Play is how we learn effectively as children and it can also aid in the way we learn as adults.
Long story short: Ole Christiansen was hit hard during the 1932 depression, so he switched from making furniture to making toys and started LEGO. The first were made of wood. In 1947 they started making Legos out of plastic. But notice something here called adaptation and flexibility, the ability to shift gears and direction when the world at large had changed.
BUILD YOUR CASTLE & DON’T FORGET THE MOAT
One thing we can learn from LEGO construction is that if we are persistent and patient we can build anything. It seems most wealth is built this way. When you are slowly adding to your assets column think in terms of building a LEGO castle. You want to build a castle but you will also need strong defenses for when problems arise. In other words you need a mix of defensive assets and aggressive assets. The defensive assets like bonds will help when markets go down. Other defensive plays in my opinion are keeping debt under control, managing the type of debt and keeping expenses reasonable. This way if the market and economy tank you are not left exposed by huge debts to pay with little in terms of assets.
WORK WITH FRIENDS
One of my favorite LEGO worlds/brands is LEGO Friends. It is wholesome and entertaining and it’s about the power of working together as a team. Each girl from LEGO Friends brings her own unique talent to life, and when these are combined they are all stronger for it.
My point here is that we all have different talents and interests. Sometimes we need a team to be most effective. So be part of a team and build a healthy team mentality. Cooperation, constructive feedback, communication, humility I believe all go a long way in building wealth and building strong teams!
It may seem unrelated, but next time you have the great fortune to build something with your children, think about what is truly being illustrated through play. The fact is that we can build great things, it takes a design plan and then building one “brick” at a time.
PS: Legos are admittedly expensive. Try and find them on Craigslist, at garage sales or thrift stores for a fraction of the retail costs.