The Parable of The Mexican Fisherman And Investment Banker

Jonathan Adomait |

As we enter into the Christmas holidays spent with family and friends, I thought it'd be worthwhile to share a particular story that packs an important message.

This story is called "The Parable Of The Mexican Fisherman And Investment Banker".

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 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 a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, señor.”

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 Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, 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, señor? 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 a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The message from this story is a simple one - don't let the relentless pursuit of financial gain take over your life.

At times it's almost too easy to build wealth incessantly without thinking about the end goal - living a life full of happiness and fulfillment.

I've learned this lesson personally. 

Early on in my career as an engineer I was aggressively pursuing financial gain. (Thanks Dad!) I was socking away around $4-5 grand a month with the intent of rapidly building up a nest egg to have financial freedom. I would avoid going to events if it meant more money was saved. Very quickly I learned this was not the way to happiness. 

You need balance in your life. Make sure you enjoy the simple things in life, whatever that means for you. 

Maybe it's spending time with your children or grand children...

Maybe it's playing a game of pickle ball with your spouse...

Maybe it's going out to eat with your friends...

Whatever it is, finding that balance is key.

Our goal is to support the balance in your life by reducing your taxes, helping you invest prudently, and growing your assets over time.

If there is a way we can support you and your goals, please reach out.

Until next month,


Jonathan Adomait

Financial Advisor, BASc

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