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How much is enough?

As Lifestyle Financial Planners this might not be the first question we are asked by a prospective new client.  The relationship typically starts with a problem that needs to be solved involving a financial product.

But, soon after our initial conversations, we confirm that our role is to help our clients have the comfort, confidence and knowledge to secure, maintain and live the lifestyle they want, without the fear of running out of money – whatever happens.

The story below really sums up the importance of staying focused on your goals and that money is not the goal. Life is not a rehearsal and we need to just focus on what matters most. This is what a great Lifestyle Financial Planner will help you achieve.

The story of the Mexican fisherman

An American businessman on holiday was standing on a pier in a small coastal Mexican village loading gear into his fishing boat.

He noticed a humble Mexican fisherman coming in and tying up his small boat to the pier. He saw that this fisherman had caught several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish.

The American asked: “Where did you catch those beautiful fish and how long did it take you to catch them?”

Pointing out the direction in the ocean, the Mexican said: “Over there, only a little while this morning.”

The American asked: “Why didn’t you stay out longer? You could have caught twice as many fish!”

“I have enough to feed my family today and have an extra fish for my neighbour,” said the Mexican fisherman.

The American asked: “Then what will you do with the rest of your day?”

The Mexican fisherman replied: “I sleep late, fish a little while, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife, Maria. Then, in the evening, I’ll stroll into the village, sip on some wine and play guitar with my amigos. Señor, I have much to do with the rest of my day.”

The American laughed: “You’re in luck. I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you. You can spend more time each day out fishing and catching more of these quality fish. You could sell the extra fish in the market for profit and one day buy a bigger boat. With that boat, you’ll be able to catch many more fish each day. With the proceeds, you will eventually be able to buy a fleet of fishing boats.”

“Then, instead of selling them to the middleman, you can sell directly to the consumer and keep additional profits. One day you can open your own fish processing factory and sell directly to the grocery stores. You’ll control the product, the process, and the distribution. You can finally leave this village, move to Mexico City, one day LA, and eventually, run your corporation from New York City as you expand the enterprise. We could be business partners. I can help you build all this.”

The Mexican fisherman asked: “Señor, how long will this take?”

The American replied: “In just 10 to 20 years you could have all of this.”

“But then what?” asked the Mexican fisherman.

The American laughed and said: “That’s the best part. Once you have sufficiently expanded your enterprise you can announce an IPO and sell the company stocks to the public and become very wealthy. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor, then what?” asked the fisherman.

“Then you would be able to retire,” said the businessman.

“And then do what, señor?” asked the fisherman.

The American said slowly: “Well, then… you could move to a small quiet coastal village, you could sleep late, fish for a little while, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evening where you could sip a little wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”


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