Investment Convictions and Work Create Profit

by | Sep 27, 2007 | Archives

Investment convictions and work sum up our series on humanity’s  evolution showed us yesterday how Steve Ells combined his imagination, passion  and hard work with capital and experience from his dad to build a new type  of
fast food…greener…healthier and more socially conscious than  perhaps we baby boomers would have started 40 years ago. 

His dad helped with $85,000 to start and later invested 1.5 million.

He also helped Ells form a board of directors who gave the son guidance as his business progressed. They not only made a great evolution for society, but made many millions for themselves as well.

However I may have given the wrong impression that this evolution and help from parents makes it easier on the children and that our younger generation does not have to work as hard. 

One reader indicated this when he shared this thought: “Gary, I agree with your reader who made a point about money and its effects on a generation of privileged children. My mother told me about the poor southerners during and
after the Civil War who may have come from privilege but who were forced to live a meager existence after the Union army left their land with a scorched earth policy. These hungry and desperate people found themselves with
nothing to eat, the Union army had stolen all their food and livestock for their own purposes. But they drew up their courage, tightened their belts and learned to survive on the leavings of a rapacious army. She told me that her mother and grandmother (a cousin of Robert E. Lee’s by the way) learned to eat turnip greens after the Yankees stole all their turnips and everything else of any food value from their small farm.

“Point is, though you may have done what any affluent father would do for his children under similar circumstances, did you also show them how to survive after their particular enemy army has passed by leaving them with nothing. I see kids in our university who have been handed everything they ever needed and wanted only to find out that when adversity arrives many have no reserve of spunk and ‘gumption’ to survive without mom or dad’s financial ‘aftercare’. 

Privilege is fun and comfortable but survival trumps it for character building and fleshing out or making an “actualized”
individual to use Maslow’s terminology. Stated another way, give your kids a fish but also teach them which end of the fishing pole brought it to your table. (Quite a few mixed metaphors here. Sorry about that.”

This is a good comment because some adversity does help sharpen the wit, courage ambition and such.  Too much adversity however stifles advancement.

Interestingly our son Jake commented on this series so I’ll let his response answer the reader above.  

He wrote: “Hi there Dad, You might also point out to your reader that one of the lessons you taught us was that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and the worst thing a parent can do is fail to teach their kids self reliance.  Hence all of your kids have paid their own way through undergraduate college, by working and taking out student loans just like
anyone else (of which all of us are still paying back a significant chunk of our earnings per month). Likewise, we have all paid our way through graduate school through hard work and further hefty loans, which no doubt we will still be dragging around with us for many years to come. What’s more – the first time I learned about trust funds was last week studying them at midnight on my law course – that I am paying for out of my 9-5 earnings and yet more student loans.

It also helps that we don’t tend to go on holidays, own fancy cars, clothes or many belongings. I suggest at least two of
us could get all our worldly goods in the back of a mid size (second hand) pick-up. I certainly know I can, as I’ve done it a couple of times in order to move cross country to keep working when fate gave me the choice of continued work or the bread line. Most of us have also held off having kids until late to pursue our careers. The reality is choosing these careers
has come with considerable sacrifice in many ways. But I wouldn’t change it for all the trust funds in the world. Love Jake”

Well said Jake. Merri and I have helped but our children pursued their passion with their wallets, their sweat and toil as well as their hearts.

Things in the world are different now…not easier.  Society as a whole is much richer, but the cost of living and the complexity of life are greater as well.

It is these differences we want to seek because that cause change that creates tension. Tension is a problem and problems create opportunity.

So when your children come up with seemingly impossible suggestions hear them out. Listen and think about them. Be open minded.  Theirs is the voice of the future and the passions they pursue may help the world and make them
(and perhaps you and me) rich as well.

Until next message may you be blessed with wonderful children and change.


We will look at how to invest in change as well as introduce our new 2008 multi currency portfolios and much more at International Investing and Business Made EZ course in Ecuador.  Join Merri, me and Steve with
Jyske Bank this November 9-11 in Cotacachi Ecuador. See

Stay on for our Ecuador real estate tour and shamanic Mingo and save $398.