Raising Money

Linsey Mills

Business Data: Integrated Financial Services, a 3-year-old Winston-Salem, North Carolina, financial-planning and seminar-presentation company

Allowance: Received Allowance in exchange for chores; saved it

Things To Know: Rural, two-parent household; always saved money; equated entrepreneurship with financial freedom

Self-Description: Frugal in personal life; willing to go into debt only if it ultimately leads to profit: "My parents always talked about the bills that were due, and I actually helped pay them. I didn't give them money, but my mom would take me in the car and send me in to pay the cable bill or the light bill.

"My dad was very frugal. He was one of those who wore his clothes forever. My mom taught me how to use money to make money. She'd say, 'Let me borrow some money until I get paid, and I'll pay you back with interest.' I always thought that was great. It was my first encounter with interest. My grandfather was a clammer, and I had never seen him work for anyone. I always thought that was interesting.

"I don't like debt, but as I've gone along, I've had to accumulate more. If I can borrow $5,000 and make $8,000 to $10,000, I consider that investment debt-debt that ultimately pays for itself."

Karen McCall: "Linsey has had models with very good money behavior: his parents and grandfather. But for those who aren't as well-schooled, there's danger in believing debt is an investment. Warning signs to look for: feeling increasingly panicked, buying on margin, carrying an increased debt load and being secretive about financial dealings."

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Raising Money.

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