GAZELLE STL NOVEMBER 2017 - Page 54

FAMILY & HOME Invest in Yourself, Invest in Others By Donald Broughton "AN INVESTMENT IN KNOWLEDGE PAYS THE BEST INTEREST." – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN T hough I have an undergraduate degree in accounting, truth be known, I hated studying it. In practice, the use of accounting and finance skills can be very interesting and highly lucrative, but studying accounting is painfully dry, gruelingly boring. So why study it? Because without studying it, without understanding the intricacies of what double-entry accounting is capable of, you can’t fully appreciate the financial implications of your decisions (business or otherwise). Each time you study a new field or expand your knowledge in a field, you increase your ability to positively change the world around you. What’s more, each field of study complements, in some way, your other fields of study. I could be a financial genius, which I’m not, but without the ability to compose a sentence, I would not be writing this article. Conversely, most writers die penniless. Point being, if you want to build wealth, start by making yourself more valuable. Take a class, read a book, listen to an online lecture, attend a seminar, watch a TED talk online. Expand your understanding of a field of knowledge you already know something about, and expand your knowledge about something you don’t already understand. You - and everyone around you - will be richer as a result, which leads me to my next point: "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." – Benjamin Franklin I’ve been blessed. I am privileged to work with colleagues that I’ve worked with for years, some of them decades. Many of them, I first hired, then trained, and now proudly call my peers. We should all invest in ourselves, but should quickly try to teach others what we are learning, too. I first began to completely understand higher-level accounting when I was tutoring my fraternity brothers who were struggling through the basic accounting classes. You can’t teach a subject unless you really understand it, but it’s more profound than that. In teaching or coaching someone, you will expand your insight and understanding of that topic. The people you are trying to teach will inevitably ask questions that force you to consider the subject anew, take a fresh approach to that which you thought you already understood. They will challenge you and send you back to the textbook to more thoroughly relearn the subject matter. And then, things start to get interesting. My most trusted colleagues know my flaws and shortcomings. I know theirs. We trust each other, we respect each other, but we test each other’s ideas. "How do you know?" "Are you sure?" are the most common lines of questioning. For instance, when trying to predict the future of the economy and the financial markets, we often quickly establish what we agree and disagree on and then spend most of our time asking ourselves, "What are we missing?" "How could we be wrong?" Net result, we make each other smarter, hold each other accountable, and have an intellectually stimulating and entertaining time doing it. Bottom line: Educate yourself and never stop expanding your fields of knowledge and interest. Build a group of people, surround yourself with people that you can do this with, and your life will be more productive and more enjoyable. As founder and managing partner of Broughton Capital, Donald Broughton is a frequent guest on CNBC, “Nightly Business Report” and Fox. He is regularly quoted in The Wall Street Journal, where he is also recognized as a top stock picker, as he is by Fortune, Zacks and StarMine. 52 GAZELLE STL