The parable of the Fijian fisherman and the Investment Banker

Today I’d like to share an important financial lesson that could set you free

A number of years ago Chris Howard, one of my mentors, told me the Parable of The Fijian Fisherman.

It went a bit like this…

An Australian investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Fijian village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. inspiration motivation lesson

The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Fijian 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 Fijian fisherman replied 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 replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends: I have a full and busy life.”

The investment banker scoffed,  

“I’ve got an economics degree and an MBA, and I could help you.

You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats.

Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added,

“Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Sydney or Melbourne where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Fijian fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

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

“But what then?” asked the humble fisherman. light-bulb-with-drawing-graph_1232-2775

The banker laughed and said,

“That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”

“Millions? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied,

“Then you would retire. You could 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 friends.”

I love this simple parable.  expert-leader-chess-game-strategy-business-win-success-lose-think-mind-psychology-300x183

It brings clarity to what the game of money is all about… and what it is not about.

It reminds you that to be truly wealthy you must be grateful for what you have.

It’s far too easy to get stuck into your business, or building a property portfolio and forgetting to appreciate what you already have.


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Michael Yardney


Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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