My son–the first one–was born on November 25th. As I write this text on the living room table, he is stuck to his mother’s breast, and she is sprawled on the armchair. In a little while, I’ll be in action to get him to burp and change another diaper. Thinking about the life of this beautiful little boy leads me to reflections on economics, business models, and even consumer behaviors.
Pedro Henrique will grow up in a country–we do not intend to leave Brazil–with a new social security regime. If he is not entitled to special retirement, he will have to work at least until he is 65 years old. At school–which, I believe, will have a very different model than those his parents attended–he will surely hear about financial education. Most likely, he will know how to handle money better than past generations.
One day he will find out that his parents have taken out a private pension contract for him in his first month of life and he will be able to decide later on what to do with this money. Perhaps Pedro Henrique uses the financial reserve to support the completion of his studies–who knows what range of courses will offered by universities in the future or even if he will need to attend classes in person.
There are many doubts and a certainty: Pedro Henrique and his generation will brave a new world. About the labor market, I have no idea how people will be hired, what workload they will have, or even if the current scope of Brazilian labor rights will stand the test of time. Here I have one wish: that he develops skills without the impositions of friends or family, and without hearing that one must strive to “work less and earn more”.
Will my son handle cash? I don’t think so. It is almost certain that he will not have a pig-shaped vault or anything of his own: more for lack of currency at home than for a recommendation of the Central Bank. The phone, much more than it was for me, will be the means of his financial transactions–it is possible that Pedro Henrique may not even accumulate credit or any type of cards in his wallet.
There will be many changes until my son is the same age as I am today. He will listen to music on his mobile phone, using even more modern headphones than I do and through bluetooth systems scattered, and with far less fear of having data hijacked by cyber criminals.
My son will understand what a startup is as easily as he knows today what is breastfeeding. As matter of fact, he will study, work and live surrounded by them. Pedro Henrique will not know what a movie store is, or a taxi, a travel agency, a printed newspaper, a flash drive. He may not understand why one day there were professions such as gas station attendant and supermarket cashier.
Pedro Henrique will not be living in the world of The Jetsons, as I imagined as a child. But it will breathe technology and see more innovative transformations than flying cars.
In the midst of all this, I will strive to teach him that real life, with affection, love, and respect, will continue to matter far more than virtual life. For now, though, I have to go change a diaper–nobody has invented a startup for that yet.