Millennials are the famously broke generation, blamed in business media for the demise of such industries as diamond rings and golf due to their lack of money, and even hectored for squandering potential home downpayments on artisanal avocado toast.
But not every young college graduate stays buried in debt. Bryan Kuderna managed to make a fortune before his 30th birthday, and in his new book, Millennial Millionaire, he tells how he did it.
Kuderna will take part in the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Summit on Friday, November 17, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The main speaker at the event will be Merrick Rosenberg, CEO of Take Flight Learning. Tickets are $75, $55 for members. For more information, visit www.princetonchamber.org or call 609-924-1776.
Kuderna is a certified financial planner and founder of Kuderna Financial in Shrewsbury. He earned a bachelor’s in finance from The College of New Jersey. In his book Kuderna lays out some observations on workplace success that can be used by millennials or members of any generation:
Not long ago, I was catching up with one of my best friends over a delicious enchilada at the one and only Jose Tejas in Iselin. In spite of being financial advisors at rival companies, we are like shrinks to one another. This one time all-night party animal is now a proud, and exhausted, parent. I asked him how his outlook on work has changed since becoming a daddy. He made a comment I didn’t see coming from a cocky and ultra-competitive personality, “You know something I’ve realized, in our business you can work to make a lot of money; or you can work to make a lot of time.”
To define dollars as the shackles which hold you down, is to simultaneously appoint money as the key to set you free. The first step to sheathe this double-edged sword and achieve financial liberation is working where you want to work, not where you have to. Gallup conducted a worldwide poll in 189 countries that showed only 13.3 percent of workers liked their job. Prosperous people agree that money is only a byproduct of winning. Winning at what they love is the true goal.
Are You Excited? If you find yourself asking what job you love, look no further than your passions. If you find yourself asking what your passions are, look no further than what excites you. Excitement is the biological synonym of passion and happiness, it’s a cure all. When you find boredom, run! Positive anticipation is the spoon that stirs your fruit loops.
If you still can’t pinpoint what excites you, look no further than your curiosities. The fear of death is caused solely by unsatisfied curiosities. Self-help books abound implore that your Sundays should feel like Fridays, from the exhilaration of the week to come! That might be a little excessive, but it drives home the point that the workweek is where most hours are spent, and it should be looked forward to. Excitement is when you’re already planning your goals for the day on your drive in, rather than drifting off to the music and saying to yourself, “Make it another nine hours and Monday will be done.” If you are not enjoying the journey of a career, then what is the point of the money anyways?
Do You Have The 3 i’s? When I interview a financial advisor candidate, I often bring up what I call the “3 i’s”. The three i’s stand for Income, Independence, and Impact.
To the point of Impact, Masonic luminary Albert Pike once said, “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others in the world remains and is immortal.” This missing component is regularly found in behind-the-scenes positions, such as the analyst who works his own schedule and makes high six figures, but halfway through life implodes crying, “All I ever see is this computer screen and I don’t know what’s the point of it all.”
Independence goes back to working where and when you want. Is it a job in which you can still coach your son’s soccer game? Or is it a job in which you’ll be traveling the world and forgetting what grade your kids are in? “Thanks for your tireless service the past 20 years Mr. Employee, but we’re relocating headquarters and you’ll be moving out to Idaho in February.” This is routine for the Big Four Accounting firms; ambitious college grads proudly take their staff job only to lose their 20s to 80-hour workweeks. Millennials are fortunate enough to live in the Golden Age of Telecommuting, we hate offices and that’s become okay.
Finally, there is Income. Unfortunately, countless individuals love where they work and feel it’s a worthy profession, but they are forced out of a career because the income won’t match their lifestyle. Smart financial planning can keep more of these happy workers right where they are. This seed of discontent is often found in teachers and cops for example.
Are You Good at Work? If you’re lucky enough to find a career that satisfies the 3 i’s, get really good at it and don’t lose it! I’ve asked and researched these guys who walk on water about what separated them from the pack and launched their careers. The common impetus is exactly that, they separated themselves from the pack. It’s imperative to stop the zombie walk found in the rat race and take a step back. As professionals say, “Stop working in your practice and take a second to work on your practice.” It is astonishing how in that a period of calm you can achieve an ah-ha moment, a small tweak to your work that fixes all the bugs. Work hard, but also work smart.
The magic that keeps any productive worker going is momentum. It can devastate us or carry us far beyond our wildest dreams. Momentum is the Emotion Multiplier. However, like any emotion, it can be a positive or a negative.
When success becomes obsession, the effects can be as harmful as they may be helpful. This realization provoked me to ask several of my colleagues at a conference what they would do if they closed their “case of the year.” The answers: go on a cruise, fly out to Vegas, or treat my girlfriend to a long weekend. But the top producer in our company defiantly said, work some more. That time when we are on Cloud Nine is when we’re at our best, you’re on the heater, make the tough phone call and schedule your biggest client. Taking off then would be like LeBron James sinking back-to-back 3s with the game on the line and then asking the coach to take him out.