The KPMG Consultant and the Fisherman

A KPMG (Business) Consultant is holidaying on the Spanish Coast when early one morning while sipping his cappuccino he spots a fisherman bringing in a small catch of fish. The following morning the same KPMG consultant sees that same fisherman, again bringing in a small catch.

The KPMG consultant can not contain himself so he walks over from his seaside villa’s private patio and begins a conversation with the fisherman.

KPMG: You know if you stayed out a bit longer I’m sure you’d catch more fish.

Fisherman: Yes, but why?

KPMG: Well if you caught more fish you’d have more money!

Fisherman: Yes, but why?

KPMG: Well if you had more money you could buy yourself another boat and employ some other fisherman!

Fisherman: Yes, but why?

KPMG: Well, the astute thing to do would be to start a company with a fleet of boats or perhaps even a franchise!

Fisherman: Yes, but why?

KPMG: Well, you’d make millions. You could control the entire fishing industry and build a large successful chain of international fishing businesses.

Fisherman: Yes, but why?

KPMG: You’d be rich, absolutely stinking rich!

Fisherman: Yes, but WHY would I want to be rich?

KPMG: Well, with all that money you could afford to retire early … (suddenly looking despondent) … at the sea… perhaps on the Spanish Coast, and go fishing in the morning…. (starting to look ill) and spend the rest of the day with your children and lovely wife.

Fisherman: My wife’s got some oats on the stove… would you like to come over for breakfast and meet the kids?

I’m struck by this story every time I think about it… I can’t remember where I first heard it but it is definitely something to think about. This past week I saw many fishermen. My parents have a gardener who looks after their property at the Breede river. He gardens for a lot of the houses there but doesn’t really work all that hard. Most of the time he’s probably sitting up on a hill watching the beautiful view and smoking his pipe.

Every time we go to the river my dad says “I can’t wait to retire here”.

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11 thoughts on “The KPMG Consultant and the Fisherman

  1. Ah, so true!

    This story speaks loudly of how we can easily choose the difficult route in trying to achieve things, and we need to ask ourselves whether we are really where we want to be.

    To me it also says how easy it would be for any of us to “retire at the sea” today. Therefore surely there is a reason for us being where we currently are. So the other question I would ask is whether we are really where we need to be.

    Thanks for sharing this great story!

  2. I have been struggling with this very thing the last few weeks. Why should I wait to enjoy life when I retire. I enjoy it now. Great story thanks a lot.

  3. It all sounds lovely, except… That it is impossible by any measure.

    Let’s mention that seaside properties are becoming more and more expensive by the minute. If you have a couple of spare million dollars then maybe you can afford to buy a wooden cabin and a small boat, and ‘retire’ – that obvious until you need surgery (another $100K) and such…

    We do not pursue careers ‘because we are crazy workaholic’ rather because today’s world is incredibly competitive and EXPENSIVE. Remember that cars, petrol, medical services (even just a simple dental crown) and such are killers. Now, sure, some people are lucky enough to inherit properties – but unfortunately, I am not one of them.

  4. Ferdi,

    While I share your views I also believe that having the buffer of medical cover is a choice that “us” rich folk have… The alternative is often lesser care or death. But with a healthy diet of organic veggies you won’t need that triple bypass at 50.

    As for the price of property, here in Africa you can still pick up a plot of land in the middle of nowhere for a lot less than the average 1 bedroomed apartment in the city. Maybe you should sell up and start your organic veggie farm in Africa!

    j.

  5. Like the story (and I’ll précis it) about the man standing on the back of his $1m yacht/stink boat in the marina and there’s this old bloke sitting on the end of the jetty fishing. The bloke on the boat says “You know, I’ve worked hard all my life, built my business from scratch and sold it for millions – now I can sit here admiring the view and throw a line out whenever I like”. And the old bloke says “I’ve been sitting here all my life”. You get the message…

  6. i like the story. i am retired and enjoying my family, my hobbies (fishing, gardening, landscaping, lots more and anything my wife wants to do) i feel that life is like a bowl of cereal…. whatever you put in it is what you get out of it. so i tried to put good stuff into it.

  7. It’s tough to do what you want. The fisherman had some kind of support. So do I. When I do what I want, the people follow, and they help me.

    Try it.

  8. Yes! – I love this story. Just posted a blog article linking back to this story. http://nomoney.com.au/2010/01/11/you-know-what-you-want-but-why-do-you-want-it/

    When you think about What you Want – I think a much more important question is WHY do you want it?

    @Pommy Jon – Like the story…although I have learned so much and met so many people through working that I would recommend it

    @Ferdinando – yes you have a point – houses and holiday houses can be expensive. But there are cheap houses where nobody is… if you want your own hideaway you could get it… but of course that does raise issues of travelling there, getting groceries there, etc.
    I think a lot of the best things in life are free!

  9. If you say it is impossible, it is.
    Five years ago I was broke, no vehicle, living in a dump. Today I live comfortably, own the car of my childhood dreams and bought a small sailboat. In five more years i will be living on my boat, doing what I want. Make the dollar work for you, not you working for the dollar.

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