A Short Story about a Mexican Fisherman and a Banker – To Convince You of Irrelevance of ‘More Money’

Think about it…How do you currently spend your day? For most of us, our 24 hours (starting from the time we wake up in morning) are spent as follows:
2 Hours: Getting Ready to go to Office (Where we work for money)
1 Hour: Office Commute (Going to where we work for money)
10 Hours: Office (Working for Money)
1 Hour: Office Commute (Coming Back from where we work for money)
2 Hours: Recovering from exhaustion of working/travelling for money since waking up in morning
and of the remaining 10 hours, around 7-8 hours are spent in sleeping.

24 Hours Money
Time we spend working for money!!

Some of the readers might be lucky, not to be a part of such routine. But for most of us, the story is as described above.
Now just for the next few minutes, think about it. How will you spend your day if you did not have to worry about money? Interesting…or rather the thought in itself is so mind-freeing….isn’t it?
Lets move ahead…
I came across this very interesting short story here. The story beautifully brings out the illusions we so easily get trapped in when we are pursuing our goals of working for money. And once you have read the story, you will realize that it does not take a lot of money to feel independent or lead a happy and fulfilling life.
So here is the story…
An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village, when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”
The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican fisherman replied that 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 replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends. I have a full and busy life.
The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”
Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to a bigger city where you would run your growing 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 could make millions.”
“Millions? Then what?”
To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”
So that was the end of the story…I hope you got the point. 🙂

Mexican Fisherman Banker Money Story

What are your thoughts after reading this story?
Personally, I am a firm believer that it really does not take a lot of money to feel independent or lead a happy and fulfilling life. But to be convinced about the previous statement I made, you need to answer a few questions honestly. Questions like the one I asked in earlier part of the post (How will you spend your days if you didn’t have to worry about money?)
And as you would have observed in the story, both the American millionaire and the Mexican fisherman dream of a very simple life. And it is the case with almost all of us. If you (atleast I do) were to imagine an ideal life and an ideal routine, we dream of very simple things…like the ones said by the fisherman. But still most of us are busy working for money, and creating unnecessary complexities in life, which in itself is slowly dragging us away from our simple dream. To be honest, there is no need to have a complex life. What is the point of earning so much when the only thing you are able to do with it is to buy progressively costlier stuff, which might not even by necessary?
I have seen my friends living from paycheque to paycheque. And all they do is burn the cash on unnecessary things which adds no value whatsoever to their lives. I understand that it’s their outlook and not mine. It’s their life and not mine. But think of it…are you working only to pay rent, bills and buy costly stuff, which you don’t need?
This reminds me of a beautiful line, which I read a while back and shared with readers on Facebook page also:
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”
These lines by Will Rogers are so bloody true!!
Bigger house, bigger cars, costlier gadgets, costlier holidays, etc. are things which most of us desire. But honestly speaking, these don’t seem to be necessary at all. But we somehow are able to convince ourselves that they are. If we don’t, then our peer group is able to ‘force’ us to believe that these are absolutely necessary.
But just remember one thing – We will have to earn a lot more to pay for all of the things we’ve convinced ourselves that we need.

Note: I have published a few more interesting stories previously which you might like to read (or read again):

Story of Goats & Monkeys – To convince you to buy shares of only good companies

Story of a Man who lost his Keys – To convince you not to compare your portfolio returns with index returns.