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Thoughts on Why We Do This
Old 01-16-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
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Thoughts on Why We Do This

I copied this off of the MSN forum. I was not sure where to post this, but I thought that it is an entertaining and an educational piece. It might be something to keep in mind as the younger (and older) FIRE forum participants 'go for the golden ring'.
I think one of the morals to this story is: Know why you are doing this.

>A boat docked in a tiny Greek village. An American
> tourist complimented the Greek fisherman on the quality of his fish
> and asked how long it took him to catch them.
>
> "Not very long," answered the Greek.
>
> "But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the
> American.
>
> The Greek explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his
> needs and those of his family.
>
> The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
>
> "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta
> with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends,
> dance a little, play the bouzouki, and sing a few songs. I have a full
> life".
>
> The American interrupted, "I have a MBA from Harvard and I can help
> you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the
> extra fish you catch. With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With
> the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one
> and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.
> Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly
> with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can
> then leave this little village and move to Athens, Los Angeles or even
> New York City! >From there you can direct your huge enterprise."
>
> "How long would that take?" asked the Greek.
>
> "Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.
>
> "And after that?"
>
> "Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the
> American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start
> selling stocks and make millions!"
>
> "Millions? Really? And after that?"
>
> "After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the
> coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take
> a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing and
> playing the bouzouki with your friends".
>
> There ends this lesson in philosophy.
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bongo2.. this is for you!
Old 01-17-2008, 02:19 AM   #2
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bongo2.. this is for you!

I think I've seen this before.. maybe even here.. but it's a great parable!

Would have been great to've had it posted on that thread with the guy that maintained we "had" to work and that there was something selfish or vaguely immoral about not doing so.

[Found it: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...sh-31851.html]
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:38 AM   #3
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A very interesting parable. Recently I went on a small weekend trip to Flagstaff out here in AZ. While there, I noticed many businesses that were for me, run in a very strange manner. In my mind, you open a business to make enought money, that one day you do not have to work any more. These businesses did something completely different! It seemed that their goal was to make JUST enought money every month to keep it going, and no more. Lots of very small bars, cafe type places there, and I got the impression that was their model. There was low stress, got to "hang out" with their customers, and seemed to have a fairly good time of it. Almost like what would happen if you charged admission for folks to drop by your place and have a cup of coffee with you. That was the vibe it gave off anyway.
From a certain point of view, that does not sound like a very bad life at all. On the other hand, I do not think I could deal with the uncertainty of what that sort of lifestyle would mean for me later on in life. Knowing that if anything significant or unexpected happened, financially I could never deal with it. I think for me I always strive to find that balence. I know there are some folks out there that are lawyers, doctors, and a few other professions, that will literally trade years of their lives for a huge payday afterwards. Folks that will work 90+ hours a week, no vacation, etc, just so that in 10 years they can retire. The problem is... with a schedule like that, some never make it, or have health problems long afterwards. I have seen others that do the paycheck to paycheck thing, and as long as they have some cash in their pocket they are happy. Thoughts of saving anything are foreign to them. I could not stand this sort of vagrant lifestyle either. It is interesting to see the differences though...
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:22 AM   #4
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It's a cute story, but I'm a little confused. It seems the message is, "if you're willing to work part-time in retirement, you don't need to save up nearly as much." The reason the old man is able to enjoy his "retirement" lifestyle now is because he spends a little bit of each day w*rking. The MBA suit is basically saying if you work hard for "twenty, twenty-five years" then he could have the same lifestyle, but without the need to put in a little work each day.

What will the fisherman do when he's too old to go out and catch his daily fish?
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ladelfina View Post
I think I've seen this before.. maybe even here.. but it's a great parable!

Would have been great to've had it posted on that thread with the guy that maintained we "had" to work and that there was something selfish or vaguely immoral about not doing so.

[Found it: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...sh-31851.html]
geez, don't do that! You'll just wake bongo up again.
I scanned it and 18 pages of anything is WAY too much... and I remember why I jumped off that thread early ...
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kombat View Post
It's a cute story, but I'm a little confused. It seems the message is, "if you're willing to work part-time in retirement, you don't need to save up nearly as much." The reason the old man is able to enjoy his "retirement" lifestyle now is because he spends a little bit of each day w*rking. The MBA suit is basically saying if you work hard for "twenty, twenty-five years" then he could have the same lifestyle, but without the need to put in a little work each day.

What will the fisherman do when he's too old to go out and catch his daily fish?
I guess the 'take away' I got from this little parable was that you should have a goal... and when you reach it ... you're done...
Also there are a lot of different (and 2 extremes were shown) ways to achieve those goals.

I think that you never get too old to go fishing... ask any fisherman.

... see Armor's AZ trip story... it shows how close to 'real life' the parable may be.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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While there, I noticed many businesses that were for me, run in a very strange manner. In my mind, you open a business to make enought money, that one day you do not have to work any more. These businesses did something completely different! It seemed that their goal was to make JUST enought money every month to keep it going, and no more. Lots of very small bars, cafe type places there, and I got the impression that was their model. There was low stress, got to "hang out" with their customers, and seemed to have a fairly good time of it. Almost like what would happen if you charged admission for folks to drop by your place and have a cup of coffee with you. That was the vibe it gave off anyway.
From a certain point of view, that does not sound like a very bad life at all.
Lot of Italian places run along those lines.. especially ones run by people who retired early and are getting an early state pension (ex-policemen, for example). You go into some little food store and see the dust on the tomato-sauce bottles and the owner yacking away with some other oldsters.. I guess it keeps them in some kind of social circulation. Since they usually have all their money in their homes or stores owned outright.. all they have to come up with is enough to pay the incidentals.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kombat View Post
It's a cute story, but I'm a little confused. It seems the message is, "if you're willing to work part-time in retirement, you don't need to save up nearly as much." The reason the old man is able to enjoy his "retirement" lifestyle now is because he spends a little bit of each day w*rking. The MBA suit is basically saying if you work hard for "twenty, twenty-five years" then he could have the same lifestyle, but without the need to put in a little work each day.
There is that. But there's also something in there to remind you that if you need to w*rk, at least pick something you enjoy.

If I were 25 again, I think I could more easily w*rk until 65 or 70 doing something I loved part-time than working until 50 doing something that stressed me out and made me dread Monday mornings. The more I start hating my j*b sometimes, the more I envy people who love their work, even if they only made 1/3 the salary.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat View Post
It's a cute story, but I'm a little confused. It seems the message is, "if you're willing to work part-time in retirement, you don't need to save up nearly as much." The reason the old man is able to enjoy his "retirement" lifestyle now is because he spends a little bit of each day w*rking. The MBA suit is basically saying if you work hard for "twenty, twenty-five years" then he could have the same lifestyle, but without the need to put in a little work each day.

What will the fisherman do when he's too old to go out and catch his daily fish?
I didnt get the impression from the story that the fisherman viewed his fishing as unenjoyable or something he would rather not do.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:15 PM   #10
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Isn't there a Mexican version of the same story?

I think it would be great if every guy decided to live like this. Then the ladies would have no choices, but as long as there is sexual competition, the early fishermen are going to be the losers.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:47 PM   #11
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I think it would be great if every guy decided to live like this. Then the ladies would have no choices, but as long as there is sexual competition, the early fishermen are going to be the losers.
Hmmm ... hadn't thought of that one, but good point.

Also - this guy is Greek, so he has access to national healthcare.

Ah well, but I love this story anyway. There's still something to take away from it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:59 PM   #12
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Maybe the fisherman has children who take over later from him and provide a "retirement" (lifestyle) for him and his wife like he may be doing for his parents. Not everyone has the "need" to live like "us".
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