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I thought this story both timely and timeless
Old 12-23-2017, 02:38 PM   #1
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I thought this story both timely and timeless

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, 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 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.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“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?”

The American said, “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.”
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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Love it. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:59 PM   #3
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Some of us have seen that one before but as you say, it's timeless. Thanks!
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Old 12-23-2017, 07:15 PM   #4
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I read a version of this story before, and I liked it.

But now, thinking about this some more, is there any difference in the lifestyle of the Mexican fisherman and the retired rich American?

On the surface, they both goof off, and have an easy life. But if their kids get seriously sick, the rich American would charter a flight back to the US to have his kid admitted to the Mayo Clinic. What would the Mexican fisherman do? There are all kinds of scenarios where having a big fat account for back up is nice, even if you are living a simple life.

Sorry for being the party pooper.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:31 PM   #5
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I read a version of this story before, and I liked it.

But now, thinking about this some more, is there any difference in the lifestyle of the Mexican fisherman and the retired rich American?

On the surface, they both goof off, and have an easy life. But if their kids gets seriously sick, the rich American would charter a flight back to the US to have his kid admitted to the Mayo Clinic. What would the Mexican fisherman do? There are all kinds of scenarios where having a big fat account for back up is nice, even if you are living a simple life.

Sorry for being the party pooper.
I have to admit, though this story has been told in different forms many times before, it is a great story, one that makes us think about why we put up with so much BS for so long, just to enjoy those few ounces of pleasure at the bottom of the cup.
But after spending so much time in a third world country I think it is really a crock. Those people with their simple lives of low consumption and little work are really bored to death, and desperate to experience a little bit of that consumption, whenever and whatever they can. Most of them would trade their life in an instant for that of the rich American. And many of them do trade it if they can, and the life they trade it for in the U.S. is one of very hard work, very long hours, and very low pay, but they still want to stay in the U.S.
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I thought this story both timely and timeless
Old 12-24-2017, 05:11 AM   #6
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I thought this story both timely and timeless

I think the story tells us to look for balance.

You’ve know them - they live for their work any do quite well for their efforts. They are either in the office until 9pm night after night or working at home after dinner.

Even thought they take nice vacations ad drive nice cars something is missing from their lives. The effort they expend short changes other items in their lives like the kids, the wife and sometimes their demeanor.
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:16 AM   #7
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Some of us have seen that one before but as you say, it's timeless. Thanks!
+1.

I also believe that many on this forum took measurable and calculated (and acceptable) risk in order to retire early, sleep late, fish, sip wine, etc. Ergo, some of us are somewhat akin to the Mexican fisherman.
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:49 AM   #8
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+1.

I also believe that many on this forum took measurable and calculated (and acceptable) risk in order to retire early, sleep late, fish, sip wine, etc. Ergo, some of us are somewhat akin to the Mexican fisherman.
And probably even more of us at this forum took very little risk by living below our means and investing the difference in boring low cost funds for the long haul and then, at a relatively early age started living as the mexican fisherman does if such is our preference, except that we do have the means to take care of emergencies
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:04 AM   #9
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What rayinpenn said.
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Old 12-24-2017, 11:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I think the story tells us to look for balance.

You’ve know them - they live for their work any do quite well for their efforts. They are either in the office until 9pm night after night or working at home after dinner.

Even thought they take nice vacations ad drive nice cars something is missing from their lives. The effort they expend short changes other items in their lives like the kids, the wife and sometimes their demeanor.
Yes, the story has values, as long as we do not take it literally.

I still remember when I was working, after work I often stopped by a large electronic store to see what cool things they had that I could buy. I did not need any of that stuff, but wanted to buy something to reward myself. That way, I felt I got something out of working.

I used to joke that all I would need were two coconut trees from which to hang a hammock. Indeed, many tropical resorts sell that idyllic image to vacationers who yearn for a simpler life, to get away from the hubbub of their metropolitan life and megacorp, if only for a few days or a week.

The truth is one would not last long living the life of Robinson Crusoe, both mentally and physically.

Anyway, this thread brings to mind the following quote.

"I would like to live as a poor man with lots of money." - Picasso
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:50 AM   #11
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What the story doesn't say is that the investment banker financed a whole fleet of fishing boats that over fished those waters and now that poor fisherman is screwed.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what has happened to many traditional fishing cultures.

But of course, I get the point of the story.
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:56 AM   #12
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After living in a Mexican fishing village, I agree with a friend who said it appears to be a simple and wonderful life but under the surface it is hard work and not much fun.

Go talk to a Mexican fisherman... and his wife and children.
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Old 12-25-2017, 12:01 PM   #13
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Wonderful! It really is what makes you happy and money isn't everything and hard work can be fun.
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Old 12-25-2017, 12:50 PM   #14
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That Mexican fisherman only gets the odd fish now and eats tortillas and beans. His family is supportive and so are his friends. He relies on government medicare to look after his family. He has a TV and a fridge. His house has a mud floor. He drinks beer out of a can.

The whole family washes in the river or the lake. In the cold weather, he has a fire from the ample wood that grows around him.

It is a simple life. But many Mexicans choose it because they cannot read or write. We see them every day.
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Old 12-25-2017, 01:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I think the story tells us to look for balance.
That’s how I read it too. We’re all well aware of the go-go financial side, it’s easier for most of us (Americans?) to lose sight of just enjoying life in the present. Thanks.
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Old 12-25-2017, 02:18 PM   #16
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"Balance" does not seem to be the message in this story. Nobody is talking about working less to improve their lives and nobody is talking about working more to improve their lives. The fisherman and the businessman just state what they are currently doing and what they plan on doing in the future. Additionally, neither one seems to have made much of an impact on the other. Where's the balance?
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