Years ago, I was told a story that says a lot about the general British attitude towards money. While it’ll no doubt be new to some of you, others will have already heard it. Either way, I think it’s still worth reading.
A successful investment banker was at the pier during a holiday in a small Spanish coastal village when a local fisherman docked his small boat. Inside the boat were some fish that he’d caught that morning. The banker was intrigued and asked the Spaniard how long it had taken him to catch the fish.
“Two hours,” the Spaniard said.
The banker thought this strange and asked why the Spaniard didn’t stay out all day to maximise his earnings.
“I make enough to support my family,” the Spaniard explained. “I don’t need more.”
The banker couldn’t understand the Spaniard’s attitude.”I’m an investment banker,” he explained. “I could help you make more money. If you spend more time fishing you could invest what money you don’t need, buy a bigger boat, catch more fish, invest more money, buy a second boat, invest even more and eventually own a whole fleet of fishing boats. One day you could open up your own export business, move to London where your headquarters would be, and sell fish all over Europe.”
The Spaniard thought for a moment before asking how long all this would take.
“Probably about twenty years” came the reply.
“And what would I do then?”
The banker laughed at the man’s naivety. “When you’ve made enough money, you could sell the shares and live well on your earnings. You’d be a very rich man.”
“But what would I do when I’m rich and retired?”
“Isn’t that obvious?” The banked asked. “You could move to a small coastal village where you could play with your grandchildren, take a siesta with your wife and walk into the village where you could dine on good food, drink wine and play the guitar with your friends.”
“Exactly,” replied the fisherman as he turned to head for home where he’d share time with his wife and children before strolling into the village to join his friends.