A few years ago, a very rich businessman decides to take a vacation to a small tropical island in the South Pacific. He has worked hard all his life and has decided that now is the time to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He is excited about visiting the island because he’s heard that there is incredible fishing there. He loved fishing as a young boy, but hasn’t gone in years because he has been so busy working to save for his retirement.
So on the first day, he has his breakfast and heads to the beach. It’s around 9:30 am. There he spots a fisherman coming in with a large bucket full of fish!
How long did you fish for? he asks. The fisherman looks at the businessman with a wide grin across his face and explains that the fishes for about three hours every day. The businessman then asks him why he returned so quickly.
Don’t worry, says the fisherman, There’s still plenty of fish out there.
Dumbfounded, the businessman asks the fisherman why he didn’t continue catching more fish. The fisherman patiently explains that what he caught is all he needs. I’ll spend the rest of the day playing with my family, talking with my friends and maybe drinking a little wine. After that I’ll relax on the beach.”
Now the rich businessman figures he needs to teach this peasant fisherman a thing or two. So he explains to him that he should stay out all day and catch more fish. Then he could save up the extra money he makes and buy and even bigger boats to catch even more fish. The he could keep reinvesting his profits in even more boats and hire many other fisherman to work for him. If he works really hard, in 20 or 30 years he’ll be a very rich man indeed.
The businessman feels pleased that he’s helped teach this simple fellow how to become rich. Then the fisherman looks at the businessman with a puzzled look on his face and asks what he’ll do after he becomes very rich.
The businessman responds quickly You can spend time with your family, talk with your friends, and maybe drink a little wine. Or you could just relax on the beach.
This is an interesting story to me because I see myself on both sides of this story. I can see myself as the businessman. Invest, build a business, donate your time now and make as much money today so you can do the things you want when you are older.
I can also see myself as the fisherman. Work only as much as you need to and spend the remaining time doing things you want to do now.
What I find ironic is that when I was reading this I was agreeing with the businessman about buying bigger boats, starting a company and generating passive income. But then, reading from the fisherman’s perspective he is currently enjoying his afternoons. He only works three hours a day and makes enough to enjoy his life. It’s obvious that the enjoyment of his life is not money dependent.
For every investor there needs to be a balance. I think that reading this story is very timely for me because in a few weeks I will begin working part time only, 2-4 hours a day, just like the fisherman. I am pretty sure I can survive indefinitely working part time. Now I will have half a day free, everyday. Should I spend it working on real estate and business? or should I spend it like the fisherman, doing this I want to do for fun? Obviously, I’m going to do both, I just have to balance it out properly.
How many of you would take 50% of your current salary if you could work 8am-12pm everyday?
Update: The author of this story Mark Albion has a new book and released a video version of this story.