HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR THE KIDS: BUY THE TOY COMPANY, NOT THE TOYS {THREE PART SERIES} – GUEST BLOGGER: George Wong

Disclaimer: Good Day, Readers.  WealthBuildingPowers blog is a financial literacy/competency blog and does not provide specific investment recommendations. 

HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR THE KIDS: BUY THE TOY COMPANY, NOT THE TOYS {THREE PART SERIES} – GUEST BLOGGER: George Wong

I am introducing a three-part series authored by my friend, George Wong. George and his wife embarked on a 56-year Financial Literacy case study working with FOUR generations of family members. George’s motivation is to increase family members of all ages financial literacy and lay the groundwork for achieving legacy wealth.  I hope you learn, enjoy and REPLICATE! 

PART ONE: WHEN THE KIDS OUTGROW THE TOYS – LESSONS FROM THE PAST – GUEST BLOGGER: George Wong

Virtually every parent and close relative reaches the point where they ask, “Aren’t John and Mary too old to receive toys for Christmas?”   

In 2005, my wife and I reached that point.  We had two nieces and three nephews, ages 8 to 15.  We targeted these five, even though we had other nieces and nephews and our sons who were recent college graduates.  My wife’s sister and brother did not have modest wealth, despite having college degrees and homes.  Neither exhibited evident wealth-building strategies or actions in their lives.   Both families lived from paycheck to paycheck and juggled bills constantly.  We decided to start a stock portfolio for their five children.   We informed both parents that we would buy each child stocks in recognized companies and start their portfolios.  One parent reluctantly said, “OK, but no small toy for each?” The other parent shot back a 12-character e-mail that read “B-O-R-I-N-G!!”   

I was raised in a culture of working hard, spending less than earned, saving, and investing in your family.  At age 14, in the 1960’s I asked my dad to buy me a few shares of General Electric {GE}.  He bought me five shares of GE as a gift at about $100 a share.  He also bought $500 of stock in an oil and gas company for each brother.  In subsequent years, he would gift us stock at Christmas.  By the time I was in the 11th grade, I had my own account at a regional brokerage firm and was buying and selling based on whatever I could find to read about companies.  My parents owned a liquor store and worked it seven days a week with no employees.  My brothers and I were the help, and we were given an allowance.  We were not wealthy by any of the definitions, but we followed a well-traveled path Chinese immigrants used.  Work hard.  Save money.   Open a hand laundry.   Move on to owning a liquor store.   Buy real estate to hedge inflation today and for income in the future.    

There was a rule: We kids had to save our allowance and earn interest on it.   Our parents would fund our education and food.  I invested in a postage vending machine and sold postage stamps at the store.  I also bought an ice cube-making machine to produce ice, selling at 25 cents a bag.  And I also purchased a coin-operated gumball machine, all before graduating from high school.  I started reading the business section of the Los Angeles Times, and I graduated to the Wall Street Journal at age 16.   I continued buying and selling stocks but only enjoyed modest success.  In hindsight I learned; I began my investing in one of the longest-running secular bear markets.   

In college, I started two businesses and managed to earn only a 2.0 GPA in Engineering School   By the time I got my MBA, I had a net worth of $25,000, at a time when second-tier MBA’s were making $15,500 at the premier accounting firm — Price Waterhouse.  I took out $19,000 as a down payment on my first income property.  That was my start.  I met the love of my life, married her, and instantly decreased my net worth when I realized she carried debt into the marriage LOL.   

My two sons attended school with the kids whose parents were leaders of big companies, entertainment companies, and investment banking firms.   We did not create formal portfolios for them.  We encouraged them to tell us what they wanted to invest in.   My oldest son’s first investment was in a local but big defense company.   His best friend’s dad was executive vice president and would become CEO of a Fortune 50 defense firm a few years later.  The younger son was less active in investing and hung around families from entertainment.  Like most parents, we found funding and paying for college educations a daunting task, and we invested less for ourselves during that period.   As a matter of fact, I quit funding my 401K at work for a couple of years and thought I would never reach my retirement goal! 

We saw the dot-com stocks lead the greatest secular bull market prior to the dot-com bust during this time frame.  But the investment ethic had set in for my sons.   Both my sons performed in television commercials and made good money.   Like my own parents, we forced our kids to save and invest while we would pay for all their schooling and food.  In my older son’s junior year in college, he asked a friend of his to ask his dad if he could intern at their dot com start-up.  The father hired my son and a few of his sons’ friends.  The company went public that summer, with each kid receiving 300 unrestricted shares.  My son made enough money to fund his senior year in college, but we made him invest the proceeds.  In his senior year, he and two undergraduate classmates took on several teams in the university’s graduate business school and came within a whisker of winning the mock portfolio contest.   My oldest son went on to work for the premier investment banking firm.  The investment habits had been well-formed by the time each son graduated from college.      

Now it was time to work on another generation.    

PART TWO POSTING DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2021 – OWN THE COMPANY THAT MAKES AND SELLS THE TOYS!

BIO George Wong Senior Advisor at Shark Wheel LLC and Senior Advisor at Intex Industries (Xiamen) Co., Ltd

George Wong is semi-retired and continues to work as senior advisor to two companies, owner-manager of the family’s commercial, and multifamily real estate, board member in two non-profit educational organizations,  and manager of several stock and bond portfolios for extended family.  His professional career included stints at Price WaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant, a commercial real estate firm as developer/portfolio manager, a commercial printing company as COO, a legal document management systems start-up as V.P. Operations, RR Donnelley Financial Print as Plant Manager, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as Finance Manager, Intex Plastics Division as Senior Advisor, and  Shark Wheel Inc as co-founder-CFO-Senior Advisor.   Out of college, he was a middle school teacher at Inglewood Unified Schools, and he worked for two federally-funded organizations advising minority-owned businesses.  His previous community involvement included the turnaround of a Pasadena unit of the National Urban Coalition, board membership in the Pasadena chapter of the Urban League, and advisor to the California Senate Select Committee on Small Business Enterprises.  George was raised in South Central Los Angeles, where his entire education from elementary school through graduate school was obtained within a three-mile stretch on one street.  He remains active in south Los Angeles as a board member at a state-funded child-care center for low-income parents that he helped found 40+ years ago and working with the tenants at the family’s commercial buildings to keep the tenants (all people of color and immigrants) in business.  He is married 40+ years and has two highly successful sons in business, following degrees at two ivy-league schools and the University of Michigan.  George has degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Education, and the MBA, all from the University of Southern California.  George still competes in the 50 Meter and 100 Meter Dashes.  He is a very proud to say that his understanding of the business world and finance comes from reading the Wall Street Journal every day since he was 15.  

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St Jude Hospital:  https://www.stjude.org/

Wounded Warrior Project:  https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Folds of Honor:  https://foldsofhonor.org

Wilson’s No Kill Animal Shelter:  https://wcnkas.org

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ABOUT ME

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger with an N.C. State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I desired to make a difference helping others improve their financial literacy and achieving financial freedom.  I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (a small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and am happy to share my finance and investment lessons.  I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog as recommendations for your situation.As an investor, you must establish your risk/loss tolerance. Investment in any asset involves risk, including complete loss. 

 Please seek your licensed CPA or fiduciary financial advisors for individual financial advice.  

I write this weekly blog to make an impact by reaching an audience and demonstrating the need for financial literacy. I will help you get there.

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Powers Investments Management, LLC

This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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