What does a kid know about business? 17-year-old Ronit Balani shares insight well behind his years in a sit down interview on his alluring business life

Many stories begin simply and for aspiring entrepreneur Ronit Balani, the same can be said. Ronit’s story begins in Morris Plains where he spent his infant years living with his parents in his uncle’s home. Once Ronit’s parents had saved up enough money they moved to Glen Rock- an upper-middle-class suburban town- where they hoped Ronit could receive an exceptional education. Ronit’s passion for the business world began in the Glen Rock school district where he began creating petty businesses. 

For example, in 8th grade, Ronit successfully created a candy-selling empire in his school. He had begun buying candy in bulk on amazon and selling it to the kids of our grade. Regular customers came to him prepared with their money, some even arriving at the same time every day. The business was so successful in fact, that the principal of the school had to bring it to a stop for fear that Ronit (a 13-year-old) was creating too much competition with the school cafeteria. When he couldn’t sell candy, he would sell shoes; Shoes weren’t selling? That’s fine, Ronit could just sell energy drinks instead.

At every turn of his youth, his love for creating value in any given market stayed consistent. But what created such a business-minded child? After all most teenagers are more focused on Monday night football or who will be chosen for the final rose on The Bachelor. 

Ronit credits the birth of his passion to his father, who he says was always involved in business one way or another. Ronit’s father worked as a manager for multiple banks including, JP Morgan, Royal bank of Canada, and Sumitomo where he is currently the COO. Ronit recalls being a child and walking to his father’s work in NYC. To him, the city symbolized a boundless ecosystem of economic opportunity. Flashing advertisements, large corporate buildings, and the dream of one day being a successful businessman like his father, all ignited the will to work towards his dreams. 

  “I plan to continue the legacy of my dad. But instead, I’d rather go into investment banking, and then eventually into private equity. Because I love investing. I haven’t been investing since [I was in] freshman year, like with actual money, not mock runs. I’ve even managed my mom’s retirement fund because she doesn’t know how to do it herself” said Ronit.

Most parents wouldn’t let their child near their purse, but for the Balanis money management has been a skill Ronit was allowed to explore from a very early age. The freedom Ronit was given by his parents allowed him to become familiar witht business well before most of his peers and has given him a considerable advantage.

Besides the influence of his family, Ronit’s drive to succeed comes from within. As he becomes more versed in the world of business he has begun understanding how important economics is a larger scale than just his own dreams. 

Ronit says,  “When people came to America, they had nothing they look to earn some capital, mopping the floors, sweeping the bright, like sweeping the hallways, doing all those janitorial jobs, those literally bottom on society jobs, made some money, and then started up their own businesses started up their own restaurant shop. And then that’s how they made themselves.” 

To Ronit the American dream is more alive than ever and he loves nothing more than seeing other people his age develop a love for business. Business to him is what makes the world turn round and without it everything would fall apart he says.

 “Everything revolves around business and the economy. If we take away those small supporting roles and businesses in our economy, you know, the dreams the daily guy is looking to achieve I mean, the economy just collapses.” 

It’s a grim reality to accept, but Ronit raises a valid point about human society. The economy is fueled by the dreams of people who are trying to create their own businesses. Ronit says that it’s essential that the government works in the best interest of aspiring entrepreneurs, especially young ones. Investing even as soon as 18 is what Ronit believes is necessary for getting a jumpstart in the economy.

“Investing is the best way to build your future and to build your retirement as a young kid, because the earlier you start, the more you get out of it. That’s just how it works for example, my aunt knows little about investing and she asked me, can you open a retirement fund for me? I’m like, you know, you’re a little late. You’re 50-something, but for me, after running numbers, if I contribute $50 A month until I’m 40, I’m 17 now, I’ll have about $2 million. I’ll be worth about $2 million, just from $50 a month.”

Such a surprising statistic made me immediately open my phone to see if it was accurate. Lo and behold he was correct; But of course, investing that consistently takes discipline. Ronit says it’s little decisions, like not spending too much money on nonessential things; that way you can save that money so it’s a larger sum in time.

If there was one takeaway about Ronit’s personality from this interview is that he is always thinking forward. Whether it be silly childhood business plans or the more serious endeavors he aspires to pursue, Ronit is always asking himself what’s next in life. Whatever is next for Ronit in the future, it’s a safe bet that he will succeed by way of passion and by following his core value of perseverance.

“I keep pushing myself because I have that end goal in mind. And you always keep the end goal in mind, even if something bad happens, you just need to keep going. Because you know, you can do it. You know, you have the passion and the motivation and drive, so how can you lose?”.