Planting Money Trees

By Michael Haddix, CEO & Co-Founder of Scout

One of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes is:

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

It’s a quote I take to heart. To me it means taking time, practicing patience, having long-term goals, and knowing that by investing today I’m making life better for my family tomorrow.

It’s also the reason we started Scout. It’s an app built for everyone who wants to change their trajectory and their family’s trajectory — no matter where they’re starting from. And that change really just begins with a choice. The person who makes that decision has the power to change the lives of everyone around them. Every story of success starts with someone deciding to take that first step. The sooner you make it, the better.

I was in my hometown of Philadelphia the other day talking with Andre Scott, better known as “Chink Da Barber” at his Clean is Mandatory barber shop in North Philly. Over his 30+ years in the business, Andre has built a client list that includes pro athletes, entertainers, and everyday people who want the cleanest cut in Philly. He started from humble beginnings, as he says “coming up in the hood,” and is quick to credit anyone who helped him along the way. Now he wants to do the same for the next generation. One of the lessons he shares with young people is the power of investing in the stock market — and why it’s important to start early.

“One of my people got me into [an investment plan] for my daughter, I just started putting a little in, didn’t even notice it and then a few years later it was thousands of dollars” towards her college fund, he told me. Now Andre has a diverse portfolio of investments, has built up a nest egg for his family, and is setting them up for a life he never had as a kid. He talked about how he’s doing it for something even bigger than his own situation — he says it’s “for the culture.” If you have knowledge, he says, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it, grow it, so everyone can benefit.

For a lot of families who look like ours, who live in places like North Philly or rural Mississippi (where both my parents are from and currently live), investing isn’t part of the conversation growing up. There’s this huge divide in how money is discussed. More often when we’re talking about “financial literacy,” it’s about saving and budgeting, not creating wealth. I get it, we all need to save. The thing they don’t tell you, though, is that you can be a great saver and still not get ahead. Stacking money away doesn’t mean as much when inflation is part of the equation.

Take, for example, a goal like paying for your kid to go to college. Tuition is $40K each year. Multiply that by four years and you think, OK, I’ll need $160K. You work hard, budget wisely, save a piece of the paycheck every month. The problem is, by the time your kid is ready for college, tuition has gone up to $60K. Tuition grew, but your money didn’t. Saving helped, but your money today can’t buy what you need in the future. In that sense, investing is not a luxury, it’s about survival.

There’s another, more intentional, reason that some people don’t want you to be “in the know” when it comes to investing. The investment banks, the financial giants, the 1%, the billionaire influencers capitalize on your lack of knowledge. They buy your data, trade on trends, and in some cases create them. Take the crypto and meme stock boom and bust. People followed a handful of influencers’ advice. Those influencers’ preyed on people’s ambition and excitement around rumors and tweets — and then leveraged that excitement to make money on them, selling when things went boom and getting out before the average person knew it was all going to come crashing down.

Scout exists to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Every time I get back to Philly, I think about the Eagles, my old high school, and my family who lives in West Oak Lane. I’m reminded what it means to be overlooked and underestimated — and come out a winner. I love that. To me, that’s part of the “culture” Andre is referring to and it’s something to celebrate and uplift. When someone who never thought investing was possible makes the choice to get started, that’s how you shift the culture. For me, for us, it’s personal.

Our team doesn’t look like “traditional” financial companies (and hopefully will help change what “traditional” finance looks like). We are black, queer, Asian, Hispanic — and proud of it. That’s what makes our product and company authentic and representative of this country.

We know what it’s like to not learn about investing until later in life and we want you to learn now.

We know what it’s like to hear someone tell us about how growing up with money opened doors for them at an early age — without them realizing that their experience isn’t everyone’s.

We know how it is to want more and aspire for more. We know how it is to forge a path and be the first.

If you’re like us, or Andre, you want a better future not just for yourself, but for your family, friends and community. You’re looking to change trajectories. You’re getting after it because you want it — and also because it hasn’t been given to you.

We want to help you get there. We want to help you plant money trees.

Join Scout and bet on yourself.



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Stress-free, personalized investing for building long-term wealth. Beginners welcome.