As we head into the holiday season and look for things we are thankful for I share this story to help put our trading and reach for money into perspective.
It is a story to reflect about our finances and goals. It is about perspectives in life. The story is by an anonymous author and it is out there in several places on the Internet, but it contains such a powerful message I just wanted to have it here on the site for those who have never stumbled upon it.
The fact it uses a ‘simple’ Mexican fisherman as the foil to teach the American Capitalist some important life lessons seems particularly appropriate given the rhetoric surrounding the recent election.
“An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed.
“I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”
“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” the American continued.
“Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise,” the investment banker concluded.
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?” asked the fisherman.
The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
-The Unknown Fisherman
Enjoy your turkey, give thanks and appreciate what truly makes life rich.
— Steve Smith