“I don’t want nepotism in my house,” one multi-millionaire said as he told Newsweek why he’s not leaving a dime of his fortune to his two sons until they learn to make money for themselves.
Siam Kidd, who runs the trading advice website The Realistic Trader, is a former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot from Norwich in the United Kingdom who went from being broke to becoming a millionaire with six businesses by teaching himself the finer points of investment and trading.
Kidd didn’t inherit any of his wealth, which explains much of his outlook on money.
Though it is often assumed that millionaires benefit from wealthy family members, a United States study of millionaires conducted by the financial advice website Ramsey Solutions found that 79 percent of respondents said they did not receive any inheritance.
Kidd’s journey to this point wasn’t always a smooth one. As a child, he had always dreamed of being in the RAF. He joined at age 18 and, at the same time, began to explore the world of trading. Though there was some turbulence to begin with, Kidd’s trading career soon began to take off. He looks back on himself during that time with some embarrassment, though.
“I remember a really cringy part of my life when I was 23, I was driving around an airbase in an Aston Martin and I was earning more than the station commander. I was a jerk,” Kidd told Newsweek.
But while he soared during those first few years, Kidd would come crashing back down to earth with a bump after leaving the RAF to pursue a full-time trading career. “It took about six years to get profitable with trading, and then I left the Air Force and was quickly broke within six months,” he said.
Blaming a “silly trade that lost a lot of capital” within a couple of months, Kidd was forced to swap a life of trading for a mix of jobs that paid the bills. He worked a dull desk job, took bar shifts, and lived on a diet of pasta and rice because he was “literally broke.”
At the same time, he was busy trying to set up a part-time business: “If you look at all the rich people on the planet that earn their money they’ve all done it via business,” he said.
Over the past decade, he has focused on setting up, running and then selling business for “five, six or seven figures.” During this period, his trading career flourished and he authored The Crypto Book.
“I make more money with my trading now than my businesses,” he said.
Kidd is a firm believer in the mantra “do, fail, learn and pivot.” For him, it’s not about failing but how you react to it.
“You have to fail fast because that way you can pivot, whereas most people in life or business or money, they’re failing slow,” he said. “I treat life like a computer game. So when you die on a level, you don’t just whinge and blame other people. You go, ‘Well, that was stupid.’ I won’t do that again.’ You hit reset, do it again. And you do it again.”
It’s his experience and this ethos that has shaped his desire to do something different with his two sons—aged 5 and 6—when it comes to passing on his wealth.
“I’m a data-driven guy so you look at all the stats of lottery winners, trust fund babies, and recipients of big inheritances and what happens to them? They blow the lot,” he said. “It makes you mentally lazy because you figure there’s no point in working hard. Your work ethic goes out the window.”
Kidd also believes unearned wealth can be an “amplifier” of positive and negative traits.
“So if you’re a nice person you might help more people build more things, more solar panels or whatever,” he said. “If you’re a douchebag and you just inherited loads of money, guess what? You become a super douche.”
Much of Kidd’s concern for the future stemmed from the deaths of several close friends in 2018. “Suddenly I was like ‘if I die I’m leaving them no knowledge,'” he said.
So he went away and spent eight months producing around “400,000 words” on everything he knew about money and investing. The resulting document has since been turned into a series of videos that all make up part of what he calls a “Wealth Action Plan.”
He also changed the terms of his will. Though the family will maintain control of a smaller fund that will ensure his kids always have a roof over their heads and any medical expenses covered, a larger fund designed primarily for charitable causes will also exist.
In order for either of his kids to have any involvement in the running of that fund, they will have had to complete the Wealth Action Plan and run, grow and sell a business for seven figures.
“If someone has never set up, run, grown and sold the business to seven figures, they don’t have the prerequisite knowledge to run an entity with that amount of money,” he explained.
As an angel investor, he’s not ruling out investing in one of their businesses, though “on purely commercial terms.” Kidd said: “I don’t want nepotism in my house. I want to run my businesses on a meritocracy-based system.”
However, Kidd says his wife is unsure about the idea.
“She’s not money-orientated like myself,” he said, stressing that he’ll happily support his boys should they choose to do something outside of the world of business.
“I don’t want to force them into anything,” he said. “I’m half Thai, half English, and my mom forced me into Muay Thai kickboxing from the age of four onwards.”
He’s even come up with a plan to give them a clear idea of what they want to do though: a spreadsheet of activities including everything from math to kayaking. The challenge is to spend at least 20 hours doing each—that’s the amount of time Kidd has calculated you need to do something to be “above average” at it.
“If both of them spend 20 hours on every single activity under the sun, when they’re 18, they would have done everything there is, and they’ll hopefully know what they want to do,” he concluded.
Kidd is ensuring his two sons are prepared for the world of business and a lot more.