I’m jet setting again. This time to Ghana, recognized in 2011 by the World Bank as enjoying the fastest growing economy as they drilled for their most plentiful of resources – oil.
I love visiting Africa, love the people, and the children that seem to delight in our appearance there.
This time up, my husband, Michael, and I have been invited to serve as keynote speakers at MTN – Business World’s 4th Annual Executive Breakfast. (MTN is a leading telecommunications company across the continent of Africa; Business World is Ghana’s popular business magazine.)
We’re thrilled to have been extended the invitation to return!
It’s my second trip back in a year’s time – the first time around, I spoke at the 6th Annual Financial Literacy Week celebration in Uganda. I was excited to discover how many of Uganda’s youth had read the best-selling book I co-authored, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I enjoyed their bright, wide smiles as they recognized me from the book jacket. (Who wouldn’t enjoy that kind of affirmation?)
So what’s the topic this time? “Getting your Finances Right.” This trip, like the last, is especially enjoyable because I get to share the podium with my husband, Michael Lechter, a leading intellectual property U.S. attorney, certified licensing professional, university professor and best-selling author. Together, we’ll promote our message of financial wellness, and Michael will talk about protecting some of the best assets we have: ideas and intellectual property.
As I speak to business executives and entrepreneurs, I plan to advise them to use caution against “sudden wealth syndrome.” Many times, when people who’ve never had enough are suddenly flush with cash – such as lottery winners – there is temptation to spend rather than steward. I’ll encourage the good folks in Ghana to grab the tools, education and resources they need to manage their finances wisely.
The Highlight: It’s always the Kids!
As a proud mother and grandmother, I’m passionate about inspiring schools and communities to empower children with the tools they need to earn, save and steward money. It’s become the most important part of my life’s work.
I’m forecasting that a highlight for us this week is the chance to talk to hundreds of middle and high school aged kids participating in Ghana’s SOS Villages program. These children, many of which are orphaned or from disadvantaged families, desperately need to hear this message: you can control your own destiny! Just like here at home; the message is very similar. We want kids to understand that they have the power within themselves to create a stable, secure future. They just have to want it badly enough, and be willing to work hard to get there.
We’ve found kids respond to very specific instructions, so we’ll be using our favorite acronym to illustrate our point: BEFAB. It stands for:
Firm Hand Shake
Ask Question (and allow answers)
Try it with your kids at home!
These tools simply require sweat equity, and we’re certain the resilient children in Ghana have plenty in store. They’re just eager for someone to show them the way, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to do just that. Stay tuned for a full report!
Bio: Sharon Lechter is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, educator, international speaker, licensed CPA and mother. She has been a pioneer in developing new technologies, programs and products to bring education into children's lives in ways that are innovative, challenging and fun, and remains committed to education particularly financial literacy. Co-author of the bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet From Gold with the Napoleon Hill Foundation, Rich Dad Poor Dad and 14 other books in the Rich Dad series, Lechter's most recent book project is Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill- a manuscript hidden for over 70 years- annotated and updated by Lechter for the modern reader.
She is the founder of Pay Your Family First, a company dedicated to empowering children and families to build prosperous futures through financial literacy education. With innovative, thoughtful and easy-to-understand programs and products, such as the ThriveTime for Teens board game and YOUTHpreneur entrepreneurial programs, Pay Your Family First teaches the practical skills that will give a new generation the self-assurance to become masters, instead of slaves, to their money.
Sharon served as a member of the first Presidents Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, a national spokesperson for the National CPAs Commission on Financial Literacy, and an instructor for Thunderbird School of Global Managements Project Artemis.
She is also a member of the National boards of Childhelp, Women Presidents Organization, and EmpowHer. For more information visit http://www.payyourfamilyfirst.com