Samurais on Planning, Investing and When to have kids

In the book "Rich dad, Poor dad", Robert T. Kiyosaki, gives a simple framework to think about investing: Build assets that generate income. A better way to grasp this is his definition of wealth: It is the moment where the money your assets generate (interest on money, stock, real estate etc.) can cover all your monthly expenses. I liked the framework. Don't focus on income but on income-generating assets. Hence, invest early. This can apply to mental, spiritual and emotional skills as well. The Early Investor Framework can help you choose the books you read, the people you spend time with etc. This might sound utilitarian and images of bloodless ultra-capitalists might be popping in your mind but stay with me. Samurais were big on apprenticeship. A Ronin - a samurai with no master - was a rogue samurai who was frowned upon. Samurais would've advised us to get a mentor as early as possible. It is one form of investing in one self.

In his book "How will you measure your book?", Harvard professor Clayton Christensen hints at how Samurai philosophy can apply to when to have kids: "(the) mistake that high-potential young professionals make is believing that investments in life can be sequenced. (...) “I can invest in my career during the early years when our children are small and parenting isn’t as critical. When our children are a bit older and begin to be interested in things that adults are interested in, then I can lift my foot off my career accelerator.  (...)” Guess what. By that time the game is already over. An investment in a child needs to have been made long before then, to provide him with the tools he needs to survive life’s challenges — even earlier than you might realize." You see what I'm trying to get to? As Seneca put it, time is the ultimate form of fortune. Investing (in money, relationships, knowledge etc.) needs to cater for that. Just as an early investor hopes he'll have money to spend on an expense when he needs it, investing early in life means attempting to create pockets of time when you need them later in life.

Now. What happens to Samurais' "life in every breath" in this planning frenesy? Nothing. It stays as is. Planning doesn't mean living in the future instead of the present. For instance, there's doubtlessly room for innovation when we think about relationships and families and planning can help. You might have read about positive psychology's advice to "write your 3 daily blessings". How about "write your 3 daily blessings with your partner". It can be life-changing to remember daily blessings together. A planned weekly feedback session with written notes exchange, a yearly round-up in an exotic location etc. Investing early means having faith that the future will look dramatically different from the present, that relationship patterns are not set in stone, that all is ephemeral and that this is precisely the reason why trial and error are always options on the table, keeping everything from relationships to knowledge acquisition much more interesting. :* to the Impossible Family :)