How a Parable Helped Me Better Guide My Clients

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By Dail Meikle – Financial Advisor


How different are you from your best friend? How about your sibling? Coworker? People are unique, that’s what makes the world fun. People have different life journeys, different likes, different laughs.

More examples of this include: how you like ketchup on your fries, the faucet/toothpaste order when you brush your teeth, how you take your coffee – and how your financial and personal goals look.

As a financial advisor, I see this every day – which is why when I came across this story, it made me stop in my tracks and reflect on some things.

The Fisherman and the Banker

An American investment banker was at the pier of a coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one Mexican fisherman docked. In the belly of the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

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

The American banker scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could 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 could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then to LA and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will it take to do all this?”

To which the banker replied, “15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (initial public offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?” asked the fisherman.

The banker 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 siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

My Financial Perspective

I saw this story recently and thought about how powerfully stories can teach us important life lessons. One would think that because I’m a financial advisor, I should be more like the “Harvard MBA” in the story. However, though that facet of the business is very important (and frankly, I really enjoy that area), I know that the biggest difference we can play in our client’s lives is through planning.

Only in these planning conversations can we really get into what is important in our clients’ lives. For most of us, amassing a huge bank account isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is usually a combination of family, lifestyle, freedom and clarity.

This is not to say that finances aren’t important – they’re a necessary part of the goal, but too often the finances become the goal instead of a means to an end.

In our office, we feel that our purpose is to help to provide clarity and confidence for our clients, by personalizing and simplifying financial issues in their lives. We feel that the definition of true wealth is “all the things that money can’t buy and death can’t take away.”

We’d love to help you! We love working with our clients, many of whom have become great friends over the years.

If you would like to connect to discuss what’s most important to you, please give me a call at: (623) 869-7222.

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