FIRE,  Life

The Parable Of The Mexican Fisherman

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

What’s up guys!

So yesterday, MrsFrugalSamurai and I went out to celebrate a birthday lunch with some old friends.

It was great to get outdoors, and see their everyone’s faces again – albeit with the smoke haze from the bushfires still lingering.

A short aside – but for our international friends who are unaware, Sydney has been shrouded in smog for the last few weeks as our brave firefighters battle the raging fires… spare a thought for those who are in the thick of it.

Image result for sydney harbour smoke
There’s a bridge in there somewhere…

Anyhow, smoke or no smoke, life still goes on.

So it came that we found ourselves sitting in a venue which was definitely a place “to be seen and heard”.

You know, all Hamptons and designer frocks and subtle brands encrusted with make-up.

Personally, it wasn’t really my type of venue.

But a Vietnamese Pork Roll bakery is certainly no place to celebrate a birthday.

Looking around though, I couldn’t help being reminded of the story about “The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman”.

You don’t know it? Well it’s about…

The Parable

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.”

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A tough 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 middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution”.

“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 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?”

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.”


I know right!

I love this story, and sincerely thank the author (unknown) who composed it.

Because it bring clarity and cuts through all the BS regarding what personal finance is all about…

… And what it’s all NOT about.

It’s also spot on with the illusions and delusions of wealth each one of us is prone to when pursuing wealth and financial freedom.

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Here is when you know you have too much money!

When we forget that the end game should be happiness and a fulfilling life, with our nearest and dearest.


Truth be told, I was thinking about this as I was chewing on another piece of slow-roasted chicken.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to be living a full and rewarding life, but it does take freedom.

Freedom to be able to choose how you live your life.

Freedom to be able to spend your time exactly as you want it.

Freedom to be able to be happy.

It’s such a simple message, but is so often forgotten!

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