In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, Brazilian businessman Ricardo Semler remarked, “The world is a monarchy, and the king is money,” which we bristle at as Americans because we define our country by freedom and democracy. But as individuals, he’s right—we forsake all that and take up money as our monarch.
Semler further explained that when you get in the mindset of accumulating money, you can’t see or value anything else. And you forget that it’s taking away from some other area in your life, whether it’s time with family, recreational activities, or much needed sleep. Unless you actively pursue something else, money becomes the default mission.
This discussion reminded me of a story I heard about a fisherman who lived on an island in the Caribbean. And one day an investment banker from New York visited the island for vacation and saw how skilled the fisherman was at his trade. But at noon, the fisherman went home, had lunch with his wife, then took a short nap before spending the rest of the afternoon with his friends.
The banker advised him that if he kept working through the afternoon, he could quickly earn enough money to buy a bigger boat and hire a crew. That crew would allow him to earn even more and eventually purchase a whole fleet. Then, of course, he could bring on investors to scale the operation internationally. At that point, the banker told the fisherman that he could take the company public and sell it.
The fisherman meekly asked the banker why he would sell it after all that trouble, and the banker quickly told him that the sale would provide him enough money that he could sit back and enjoy life—leave work at noon, have lunch with his wife, take an afternoon nap, and spend the rest of the day with his friends.
Money was the banker’s monarch. He couldn’t see that the fisherman didn’t need more money to live the happy life that he already had.
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.