A young investor stood looking out into the cool Gulf waters on the end of pier in a small coastal Mexican village. Having spent the last several months working hard toward gaining his securities license, he left for a few days of sun-soaked pleasure in Western Mexico. As the sun sank into the pale horizon,he a single fisherman docked his boat along the far side of the pier. The young Wall Street banker walked over to the boat and saw several large yellow fin tuna gasping for air. The young executive complimented the tanned fisherman, a wise-eyed, weathered man, on the quality of his fish and asked how long it had taken to bring in the catch.
“Not long at all,” the fisherman replied.
“Well, why not stay out longer and catch more fish?” the young New Yorker asked smiling.
“I have enough for today,” said the fisherman, “this is what I need to feed my family.”
“What do you do with the rest of your time?” the young man asked curiously.
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I enjoy some wine and laughter with friends. It’s a full and happy life,” the fisherman replied.
“Well, I'm a Harvard MBA and have just completed my investment securities training. I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds from the larger catch, buy a bigger boat. Then you could catch even more fish. With those profits you could buy several more boats and hire captains to fish for you, and eventually you could open your own cannery. Then you would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal village and move to Mexico City or LA or even New York where you could run your expanding enterprise.”
“How long would that all take?” asked the somewhat bewildered fisherman.
“Fifteen, maybe twenty years, max.”
“But then what?”
“Well, when the time was right, you could announce your IPO, sell your company stock to the public, and become very rich. You could be worth millions,” retorted the proud young investor.
“Millions? Then what?”
“Then you could retire and move to a small coastal village like this one where you could sleep late, fish a little in the morning, play with your grandkids, take a siesta, and enjoy wine and music with your friends in the evening.“
The fisherman grinned, tipped his hat at the young advisor, and shook his head as he walked off the pier without a reply.