The Banker, The Fisherman and The Quest for More

20 Feb The Banker, The Fisherman and The Quest for More

You’re probably familiar with the story of a Mexican fisher man and an American investment banker, but humour me.

The banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when the fisherman docked his little boat and a conversation ensured. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them, to which the fisherman replied, “only a little while”.

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish, to which the fisherman replied that he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” the banker asked.

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life…’ the fisherman replied.

“I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. 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, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.” Said the banker

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”, to which the banker replied, “15 – 20 years!”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The banker 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?” quipped the fisherman

The banker explained “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

In a financial planning context, this story illustrates how the search for more: more money, more stuff, higher investment returns, without due consideration for what it is that we truly want out of life, is futile.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes ‘more’ can be good but only when we defined our core objectives can we truly determine whether it’s worth chasing ‘more’ or simply to sit back and enjoy what we do have.

This is why, in our work with clients, we work very hard to understand what is it they are trying to achieve in their lives and we often find that what they need isn’t more money or higher investment returns but to organise what they already have in the best possible way to meet their objectives. That’s when financial planning comes into its own!