My daughters recently requested a new story using a character like 'Scammy Sam'. For those of you that don't know who Scammy Sam is, he is a character I use to help my daughters learn about scams. Every now and then I offer my daughters something that 'sounds too good to be true' and when I do, they must shout 'Scammy Sam'. This is helping them prepare for the real-world where 'if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is'.
I hope you and your kids enjoy this new story!
Lazy Larry the Millionaire
At school, Larry was very average. He did his work but was never top of the class. It always seemed he’d do just enough to get the grades required to pass. None of his classmates thought Larry would get very far in life as he appeared too lazy. He didn’t play sports, wasn’t into art or drama. Behind his back they would call him ‘Lazy Larry’. Years later, just as they were about to turn 50-years-old, there was a big school reunion. Everyone who attended looked amazing. Some turned up in flashy cars. Some wore designer clothes. Some showed up with a suntan from their recent holidays to the beach. Everyone was surprised to see Larry walk in just before they were all about to sit down for dinner. He was wearing plain clothes and was driving the same car his parents drove over 20 years ago when they all left school. The people who were sat on Larry’s table were all quiet. They didn’t want to share too much about their lives since they left school as they felt it might make Larry feel bad as it was clear he wasn’t doing as well as them. Luckily, the headmaster got up on stage to make a speech which broke the awkward silence at the table. “It’s so good to see you all here today. As you know, last year the school almost closed due to a lack of funding. Luckily one of our former students who is here today offered to make a generous donation.” Everyone looked around to see who had made the donation. Most thought it must be Beth Woodle as she arrived in a bright red sports car so clearly had lots of money. The headmaster continued, “Please join me in thanking Larry for his donation!” The whole room was in complete shock as they stared at Larry as he stood up to acknowledge the kind words from the headmaster.
Larry’s Lazy Savings …
“Larry, how did you make that donation? We all thought you were too lazy to make something of yourself” said Sophie who was sat next to him at the table. “I didn’t do too much. I recently read a book about saving and investing, I can’t remember the name … something like Grandpa’s Fortune Fables or something like that ” Larry started to explain. “At first, I moved some money from my bank account to an investment account at the end of the month. However, I kept forgetting or was too lazy to contact the bank. Then one day I just said to them, “Please can you automatically take some money from my bank account and put it into my investment account?” They were very happy to help and then I forgot about it. The money kept growing and growing. When I heard about the school needing help, I felt I could use some of my money to make a difference.”
Larry’s Lazy Car …
“If you have all that money, why are you still driving your mum’s old car? Why don’t you get a new car?” asked Tony “I thought about it but I don’t drive that much. Turns out that as the car is so old and vintage, people want to drive it so I lend it to this car renting company. People pay them to drive it for a night or two and they give me a share of the money received. I told them to pay it straight to my investment account rather than into my bank account. I still get to drive the car when I need it, which is nice.” “I can’t believe it. You’ve kept the same car for 40 years and it is making you money. I’ve been buying new cars every 5 years and I’ve not made a penny from doing so!” said Tony.
“Is that the only way you make money? Did you end up working somewhere? Last time we saw you, you were working in McDonalds” asked Sophie.
Larry’s Lazy Chairs …
“I have a business which is doing quite well and makes me money,” replied Larry. “You own a business?! This is crazy,” said Tony, who was in complete disbelief about what he was hearing from the person they all called Lazy Larry. “You see, I met this girl after school. She loved to go shopping at the mall. I hated it. I just wanted to sit down but all the seats were hard and uncomfortable. I then saw a store selling massage chairs. I wanted to sit in one whilst my girl was shopping. I decided to use some of my savings to buy one. I spoke to the owner of the mall, and he agreed to let me put one in the mall and we’d charge people to use it. Turns out it was a hit. I used the money it made to buy another chair. After time I had these massage chairs in most shopping malls, airports, and supermarkets around the country. My company is called “The Lazy Company” said Larry as he was eating his dinner, unaware no one else was eating their food as they were listening to his stories.
“I can’t believe it. I was sitting in one of your chairs yesterday!” said Dave who had walked over from the other table to hear the story. “The money from my investments, my car and my company mean I can travel around the world and follow my passion of mechanics” said Larry “You love mechanics? … you never cared about that when we were in school; I can’t believe that is your passion now.” exclaimed Tony “I always loved mechanics when we were at school – it’s just that mechanics wasn’t taught in school. Whilst I might have appeared lazy, I always made sure I did my work. At home I was always working hard on different projects. I now fix the car whenever it needs repairing. I also fix all the massage chairs when they break but, now that I have also taught other people how to fix them, I have more free time.” said Larry with a smile. Larry’s last words were “Don’t always judge a book by it’s cover. I know you all used to call me ‘Lazy Larry!’” With that, he smiled and finished his dinner. The end!
Key message from the story …
Firstly, I don’t want to give the impression that kids should be lazy at school. Larry was efficient, rather than lazy.
There are 3 money lessons from this story:
1. Lazy Investing. Larry set up his investments so that he was investing each month without even thinking about it. Just an hour of his time over 30 years ago meant he could put away $500 per month which led to over one million dollars.
2. Buying cars. I love hearing of people making money from owning old cars. Whilst the maintenance cost is high, the fact that they are rare means they become more valuable if you keep them in good repair.
3. Spotting business opportunities. Larry discovered something that would make his life better and used that to start a business. This is the mindset we should look to help our kids develop. Next time your kids are complaining about something, why not ask “Sounds like a Lazy Larry opportunity, could you create a business to improve that?”. You never know, that could result in them starting a profitable business just like Larry.
Whilst the above focuses on money messages from the story, the other key message is not to judge people by their possessions. Just because someone doesn’t wear designer clothes or drive the newest car, doesn’t mean they aren’t successful, or they don’t have money. They could be another Lazy Larry! Maybe one day I'll release a set of picture books based on the characters from the stories in my blogs, i.e., like the Mr. Men series but about money. Let me know if you feel this would be something you would like to see (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, ideas for new characters would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading - don't forget to subscribe below!