Comments (53)

Jan 3, 2020

I think the parable is a good one. It makes you ask yourself if the things you are focusing on are what you really want to be focusing on. 8 months ago my wife and I were sitting on our couch in Houston and we asked ourselves why the hell we were living in Houston. We thought it was because we had to put in our time and build a career in a decent location before we could really go where we wanted to be, but then we realized that was horse shit. We moved to the Rockies and actually got a bump in compensation and benefits moving out here. We are closing on 2 acres in the mountains at the end of the month with a reasonable commute. I reckon a lot of the people with amazing lives are people you never hear about.

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Jan 3, 2020

Sounds like your life is going well I'd move to the Rockies if I could.

Jan 3, 2020

As someone who still lives in Houston - well done and enjoy

Jan 3, 2020

You got the beard though.

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Funniest
Jan 3, 2020

the mexican fisherman forgot about his family's future needs and will never know the satisfaction of closing on a fatass ipo

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Jan 3, 2020

I have this parable hanging in my bathroom and it's a daily reminder to stop the grind when I have "enough"

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Jan 4, 2020

I think the MS speaks for itself

Jan 5, 2020

Multiple sclerosis?

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Jan 5, 2020
eric9242:

I think the MS speaks for itself

For what though? It's a good parable.

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Jan 3, 2020

If a small town in Mexico is your idea of a nice retirement, go for it.

Jan 3, 2020

What's your ideal retirement?

Jan 3, 2020

Good question. I don't know. Frankly when it comes to investing/trading/gambling I'm just a dog chasing cars. I do it just for the sake of doing it. Don't see myself retiring really, because that's what I'd do in retirement. So I guess that's my version of fishing and playing the guitar with my amigos.

But I do think relaxing in some third world place would get sucky and then what? Can't just be a fisherman in NYC or LA.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Jan 4, 2020

The Mexican fisherman has to be content with the obese 3's there unlike the models / 8-9's my MD pulls every Friday.

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Jan 4, 2020

The Mexican fisherman has a wife....how does your MD go about procuring said dimes?

Jan 6, 2020

MD probably has a wife too unfortunately

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Jan 6, 2020

Everyone's taste is different but to say all Latina's are 3's is as correct as saying they're all rapists and murderers...

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Jan 6, 2020

Latinas have some phat asses.

Source: Gina Valentina

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Jan 6, 2020

And what number would you give yourself?

Jan 6, 2020

A solid 8 would be higher if I wasn't 5'9.

Jan 7, 2020

6 or 7

Jan 5, 2020

It used to be Greek fisherman. Poor Greeks are being deprived of everything.

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Jan 5, 2020

that tickled me. SB'd.

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Jan 5, 2020

It's a thought-provoking story, but misleading, because it doesn't entirely capture the difference in mindsets between the MBA and the fisherman. Or, more broadly, between the First World and a banana republic.

A lot of Americans' work goes toward various types of insurance. Some are obvious: health insurance that pays for neurosurgeons if we get brain cancer, home insurance that pays to rebuild if our houses burn down, car insurance that pays for damage if we get in accidents.

But a lot of things that we don't think of as insurance per se actually have major insurance components. For example, building a house means something different in the U.S. than it does in Mexico. We have a stricter regime of building codes and inspections, and that translates into buildings that are more robust against rare, major storms.

But rare storms, by definition, don't happen very often. So the risk contained in the Mexican structure is not apparent on a normal year-to-year basis. The fisherman can work less and take more siestas, because his house is cheaper, and he doesn't experience any negative consequences from that decision from one decade to the next. And then one day an earthquake hits, and his entire town is flattened. A hurricane or earthquake that kills 7 people in the U.S. could kill 2500 in some other countries.

The fisherman's approach is great under normal circumstances. But it tends not to address tail risks, and those can really burn you. Sometimes literally.

I'm not necessarily saying that the workaholic U.S. approach is inherently better; maybe we should chill out, slack off a little, and live with some additional risks. It's a complicated question. But I do get annoyed when I hear about how much more balanced and sane people in some third-world country are, and how their lifestyles are superior to our, and then get asked to donate when they're suddenly experiencing a catastrophe.

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Jan 6, 2020

Spot on analysis. I must note one thing, houses in America are of extremely poor quality, they're built using plywood, drywall, weak beams, shit insulation, fake brick sidings, and plastic everywhere. Whenever a tornado or hurricane hits America these houses are torn off the ground. In European countries, houses are made of stone and real bricks, and they last hundreds of years. Many European countries have privatized healthcare systems that far outshine America's.

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Jan 7, 2020

I wish European houses didn't last as long. They're all full of ghetto retrofits (the stone masons didn't think to leave room for HVAC, plumbing), Stone makes terrible insulation, any modifications are very laborious, and none have nice open floorplans or feng-shui going on.

I'm not saying cheap American houses are better in every regard, but I think the age of European dwellings has more to do with culture and cost of renovation than it does with the physical durability.

Jan 6, 2020

Very good analysis. The story is obviously created to show the balance of life. Also, despite what many on this forum are lead to believe, most people who I've met in America work quite a lot and don't get paid very much for it. We have an obsession with working long hours for the sake of working long hours. It's something I don't really understand. Sure- some of us, myself included, see a path to get this safety net set up so we're fine later in life and set our kids up with a better springboard than whatever we had.

However, a lot of people don't really have a "path" per se. This is just their job and they work >50 hours a week in it, make less than $150k until they're above 50 years old (which in SoCal isn't much if your wife has a baby and doesn't work). I see most Americans as stuck and miserable. This forum has a LOT of selection bias, which isn't a bad thing. I hang out here quite often because it's full of very driven people and that motivates me.

I'm very interested to see what the future holds for this unhealthy, uneducated, overworked, warped population we have. Again, not all- maybe not even most, but many.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 6, 2020

Yeah, my dad works 8-5 6x/week, makes $60k/year, and hates his job. It honestly hurts to watch it. He's just working to work until retirement and there's nothing I can do to help.

I often think about how someone working at McDonalds or the like makes minimum wage doing something that I would hate to do, even making $150k/year. Think about having banking hours, but working at McDonald's or construction making $15/hour. It really puts things into perspective.

We often portray the uneducated jobs as being easy, but i think it's quite the opposite.

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Jan 6, 2020

It's not first world vs banana republic. It's the typical Harvard kid (loving parents pushing for education, decent school, great extracurriculars, friends, etc), who trades all that in for neck deep work on an IBD desk and the higher earnings that comes with it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2020
BeaconStreet:

But I do get annoyed when I hear about how much more balanced and sane people in some third-world country are, and how their lifestyles are superior to our, and then get asked to donate when they're suddenly experiencing a catastrophe.

As someone who lived in a third-world country for a while, I agree whole-heartedly with this part.

Jan 6, 2020

The main point is the fisherman lacks an understanding of capital.

Jan 6, 2020

This has nothing to do with money. More a parable on being grateful with what you have and not to assume the grass will always be greener on the other side.

The banker sounds like one of those high gamblers who made very little assumptions, and will end up finding himself in a trapped hallway, with the only way out to resort to some corner cutting and rulebreaking.

What happens when the scale leads to market saturation? Is the risk worth it?

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Jan 6, 2020

I think the main story is that everyone's road to happiness is different and dependent on life circumstances. The Mexican fisherman is happy with what he has because that is all he has known and is a result of his culture. I don't think being a banker is wrong, if you enjoy the work and your spouse is fine with it. However IBD is not for everyone. This website pushes a mentality of IBD or bust which isn't accurate for everyone. Some people will be happy with a 50 hour workweek free weekends and comp around 70k. Others are fine working 70+ hours and making 700k. It just depends on the person. Personally I found myself chasing the prestige a little too much and stories like this are helping me to reevaluate what I actually want in life as opposed to what is popular and gets the most friends, etc (Although both can coincide).

Jan 6, 2020

If I was making 700k a year I would work for 10 years and then quit.

Jan 6, 2020

Well it takes 10 years to get there. So 10+10=20. But when you reach MD/PM level all your friends generally are MD and PMs and suddenly 700k doesn't look as good compared to that global head who is making 2MM. That's why I think it is important to quantify what exactly you want in life (even salary) and then stick to those goals. I used to chase the "prestige" and "money". However the problem with such goals is that they are variable and the bar will be raised higher and higher depending on who you associate with.

Jan 6, 2020

I am young and just starting out but personally, this story made me think about why I wanted to go into banking or have financial successes. I have often imagined after making some good money on WS, pursuing a passion-business and having a nice balance of beach, fitness, hobbies, etc. But the truth of it is that you don't need to do this then that, you can pursue what you ultimately want from Day 1. I think the parable touches on the 'if you do what you love you never work' expression in the sense that a lot of people work grueling hours in jobs they aren't passionate about in hopes of a good tomorrow and lavish retirement. Time is not guaranteed and hating your present life for a hopeful someday is no way to live. That said we all have different backgrounds, motivations and are driven for different reasons -- I think it's important to think about what's driving you and hope that it isn't superficial. You won't love everyday of course but you should love your work on aggregate or at least feel it's important/will launch you to something you believe in. Since I was younger I had always been infatuated with business, growing up when adults asked what I wanted to be I'd say a mortgage broker (during the height of the industry) and truly believe I am doing what I am passionate in, even if that means I am a powerpoint/excel monkey for a bit.

Don't do things solely for money/prestige/power you will never feel satisfied no matter how much you obtain.

If you like this parable and haven't yet listened to David Foster Wallace's This is Water speech I HIGHLY suggest it.

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Jan 6, 2020

I should just quit my job and buy a beach house in some island with low tectonic activity and live there with my wife for the rest of my existence.

Jan 7, 2020

Fisherman doesn't have the choice / options the banker is proposing. The grind lifestyle is designed to provide someone with the option to do what they want, if they so choose. So basically, if you know you don't want to do anything more than what you're doing, go the fisherman route. If you want to keep your options open, take the banker route

Jan 7, 2020

Lol people on this thread do not know how to read a parable. I guess logical wonks are just that and everything MUST be literal.

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Jan 7, 2020
Comment
Jan 13, 2020
Comment

"Be persistent and you will get, be consistent and you will keep it, be grateful and you will get more"

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