What’s the point of all of this?

If you’ve followed my writings for a while, you may have noticed my slant on financial planning is less about money and more about a rewarding and satisfying life. Money is a necessary part of life, but not the purpose of it. 

Sometimes we get so focused on earning money, that we forget what that money is for. Here’s an old tale that always brings me back to reality when it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. 

It had been almost two years since the American businessman, with an MBA from a prestigious Ivy League school, took a vacation.  He had a very important role as a business advisor at a Fortune 500 consulting firm.  While vacationing in Mexico, he met a Mexican fisherman with a small boat who’d just caught a lot of fish. Impressed by the Mexican’s catch, the American began talking with him. 

It was only 2:00 in the afternoon, so the American asked the man why he was coming in from fishing so early.  The Mexican said he had enough fish for his family and friends and had no need for more.  He continued by saying he wanted time to take a siesta, play with the kids, and have his neighbors over for dinner and dance. 

The businessman proudly told the Mexican that if he worked longer he could form a corporation, buy more and larger boats and expand the company by exporting fish out of Mexico.  He continued by saying that after about 20 years the company would be large enough to sell for millions of dollars. The Mexican was impressed by this idea and asked what he would do next. 

The American said “that’s when all the hard work will pay off.”  He could sell the company, retire and live on the beach, spend his time doing a little fishing, playing with the kids, and enjoying dinner and dance with friends. 

What do you think?  Does this make you reconsider what you are doing?  It serves a good reminder to me every time I read it. 

Photo: flikr

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