The Joseph Group

The Fisherman and the Businessman

March 25, 2022

To Inform:

I am often asked by people, “how much money do I need to retire?”

It is such a fascinating question for me that leads me to ask them a few questions such as, “How much money do you spend every year? What do you want to do in retirement? What makes you happy? Do you want to travel? Do you have plans for a major purchase like a retirement home or boat? Do you want to give to charities or gift to family members? How will you spend your days?”

Every person’s story is unique, that’s why we are called “individuals”, 😊.

Our lives can be as complicated or as simple as we want to make them.

I always think about this parable I heard many years ago:

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

We always encourage our clients to think about their purpose. What is it that you want out of retirement? We are not expecting our clients to provide clean drinking water for villages in foreign countries. We are not expecting our clients to want to create world peace. We aren’t expecting our clients to rid the world of disease. Maybe you do want to do things for the greater good (and that would be amazing!) but maybe your retirement is as simple as fishing and spending time with your friends and family, and that’s perfectly great as well (as long as there’s a seat for me in the boat)!

Are you chasing happiness … or is it already there in front of you?

One of my favorite quotes is from the food channel – I heard a bread baker say, “I was a pretty good engineer, but it didn’t make me smile.”  I’ve put a lot of thought into that quote over the years and I always try to encourage people to do what they love!

I want to encourage YOU to think about YOUR purpose. Whether that is while you are still in your working years, entering retirement, are currently retired, or even if you are still in school trying to find a career. Spend some time to think about what it is that you could do every day that would bring you true joy. Think about it … and DO IT!

Another quote I like is, “When JOY connects to MISSION, a life’s purpose begins to take shape.”

Whatever your purpose is, we want to be your guide to help you dream it and realize it!  Call or email us today to get started on your plan to fulfill your purpose!

PS . . . . . . happy fishing!


  Written by Dave Suchland Client Advisor and Team Lead