I thought I understood the concept that time is more valuable than money. The way I understood it was that time is finite and cannot be purchased (not yet at least) and money is infinite. This thought has been just lingering in the back of my mind for some time now, but I never really acted upon this knowledge. Sure I may not have gone after that higher paying job because I knew it would eat away at more of the life part of my work-life balance, but at the same time I have stayed in a career that eats up 50 plus hours of my week most weeks. That’s almost a third of the total hours we have in a week. So now two-thirds of my time is either working for someone else or sleeping. Seems like a crummy deal.
My favorite podcast lately (by far – highly recommended) is Invest Like the Best by Patrick O’Shaughnessy. I was listening to the episode where Patrick interviews Chris Cole. At the beginning of the podcast Chris said something pretty basic, yet it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m going to paraphrase what he said:
Warren Buffet is worth 66 billion dollars and is in his late 80’s. Would you trade places with him? No one would say yes to that. Therefore your time is valued in the billions.
For whatever reason, maybe it was just the mood I was in while I was eating my turkey sandwich and listening, but this blew my mind. My brain started going in a million directions. Why aren’t I doing something I’m passionate about everyday? Why am I working for someone else? Why are golden handcuffs so hard to break? I know time is more valuable than money, but my actions make it look like I believe the opposite.
Obviously my most blatant action that goes against my belief that time is greater than money is my job. To understand why I’m still in my career I put together a quick list of reasons why, off the top of my head: income, health insurance, prestige, cultural norms, the people, money, expectations, scared to leave comfort, at times it is rewarding and challenging, free laptop and cell phone, airline and hotel status, faster time to financial independence, and money. A majority of those reasons have to do strictly with money. What’s up with that?
Now obviously those of us who haven’t reached financial independence must earn an income of some sort to survive. But without a doubt I could figure something out where I work less than 40 hours a week, cover my expenses, and save a little. I think the reasons I don’t are the fact that I want to get to financial independence so fast. I think I’m doing a good job enjoying the journey to that goal, but maybe I could be doing a better job at ignoring things like cultural norms and expectations. Maybe I should just go for it and create something that would give me back more of my time. What is the worst that could happen – I go back to a 9 to 5?
Do you think time is more valuable than money? Do you make decisions based on money even though you know time is more important? How do you condition yourself to make decisions not based on money?