Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When Less Is More

The other day, I received a newsletter with a story that some of you may have read before:

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

I found it to be a reminder that sometimes we have our priorities mixed up. If our goal (whether conscious or not) is to make more money to be able to afford a better lifestyle, we shouldn't forget what we're giving up in order to get there.


Cash Money Life - A Personal Finance Blog with a Salute to the Military » More Great Personal Finance Posts - Weekly Round Up said...

[...] Getting to Enough - When Less is More. This is a great story about why the “rat race” and accumulating more is not for everyone. It’s all about priorities. [...]

plonkee money » 111th carnival of personal finance - glastonbury edition said...

[...] when less is more @ getting to enough, a golden oldie [...]

KMull said...

Excellent story... we need to realize where we are going!

Best Personal Finance articles from Carnival of Personal Finance #111 at Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money said...

[...] And finally, Getting to Enough illustrates why keeping your priorities straight is important in “Less is More“ [...]

Best Posts from the 111th Carnival of Personal Finance » Getting To Enough said...

[...] My contribution was my post on When Less is More, a reminder about keeping in mind the purpose of money and why more isn’t necessarily better. [...]

One Frugal Girl said...

Thanks for the story. Truly inspiring.