Have you ever heard these common expressions?
“time is money”
“money can’t buy you happiness”
or as I put it “money can’t buy you time”
Time and money are two of the most important and most wasted resources we have as humans.
Time is Money
Let me tackle the first expression. Time is Money. This is true is it not? Most people just say this expression when they are working hard and want to be left alone. It could easily be replaced with, “not now, I’m busy.”
However, when you take time to look at the expression you begin to realize that time really is money. What is work? In it’s simplest form, work is really just trading my time (40 hours a week) for money (a paycheck). Plain and simple. If I quit my job I will suddenly have 40 hours extra in my week, but, unfortunately, I will also have no money.
Money Can’t Buy Time?
I am going to make a bold statement here and say that money actually can buy you time. We all have goals with our money, right? If we didn’t have financial goals, then what is the point of earning money?
Maybe your goal is super simple:
This means you need money for food, water, and possibly a roof over your head. Without those things, you would unfortunately die. And as such, by spending money on these necessities you are increasing the amount of time you get to live.
On the flip side, a lot of people save money for vacations or “toys.” Vacations cost money, toys and hobbies cost money, and they all take time. If a vacation costs $1000 for travel and food, then you can easily calculate how much time you’d have to work to afford that vacation. Time is the only true resource here.
We either trade time for money or experience.
What does the typical retirement dream look like? It is all the time in the world with no care about money, right? How is this possible? Because during your life up until 60ish you were trading time for money. Now it’s time to go backward. You are now taking the money you earned and turning it back into time.
You see, this is the simple game of life: How do you best balance the art of spending time and money? They can be traded back and forth indefinitely. Many people who only save for retirement end up missing out on spending time doing things they love when they are young. That is unfortunate. We tend to think that when we are old, time will be of greater value, so we don’t spend any of our time doing things we enjoy now. We only save our time, so that when we are old we can spend it all. But when you are old, you simply cannot do what you can when you are young.
It is simply all about finding your balance. And by all means, don’t judge someone for spending money, or for saving it either. There are of course wise ways to deal with time and money, but that is for another day. In the meantime, remember that time and money are both limited resources. How you spend them matters! Don’t give up one just because society tells you to. Do what matters to you!
A version of this post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.
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