Like it or not, we live in a society where wealth and success is measured by the amount of money you have. The big house, the fancy cars, the 7-digit investment account balance – it’s what we are all taught to aspire to achieve.
This puts an incredible amount of pressure on us and often forces doubt upon our life decisions. If we aren’t making more money, then we aren’t succeeding.
But let me tell you something – I’ve worked with clients that had $10,000,000 and I’ve worked with clients that had $200,000, which taught me an important lesson. Time is finite, whereas money is infinite. In my eyes, someone with $200,000 and spends their time exactly how they want is wealthier than someone with $10,000,000 with no time to enjoy it.
We get trapped sacrificing our valuable time in the endless pursuit of earning more money when we don’t know how much money is “enough”. We make unnecessary sacrifices to buy more things and earn money because it’s what are we “supposed” to do.
It’s time for us to start focusing on time wealth, as opposed to money wealth.
What is time wealth?
Time wealth is the ability to spend your precious time in a way that is most aligned with your values. That could be spending time with family, doing work you love, volunteering, traveling, etc.
The ability and freedom to control our time should be what we all aspire to achieve. That means we aren’t missing our kid’s soccer games, we aren’t enslaved to a job we hate and we aren’t saying no to meaningful experiences because we don’t have time.
Now, this is not an easy mindset to adopt. You will always have the friends that are bragging about their fancy cars, or you will see how wealthy people are worshipped in the media.
But if you can become comfortable with this mindset, it will make you feel freer than ever before. When you start viewing money as a tool to free up your time, it truly impacts the financial decisions that you make.
Time wealth changes your spending habits
When you view wealth as time as opposed to money, it makes you a more disciplined consumer.
Let’s say you are considering a major purchase, like a new house. Ask yourself a few questions –
- Does this purchase free up my time?
- Does this purchase enhance the time I can spend with the people that are most important to me?
- Does this purchase require a sacrifice of time to fund it? Am I comfortable with that?
Now, sometimes you just need a new house. You may be a growing family and you simply need more space. These questions are best used for the “nice to have” purchases, as opposed to the “must have” purchases.
In addition, this mindset can help raise awareness of how you’re currently spending money. I know everyone hates the b word… budget, but budgeting truly should be viewed as an opportunity, as opposed to a punishment.
Budgeting brings awareness to whether or not your money is being spent in a way that is aligned with your core values. What if you found areas to spend less money on, so you could spend more on things to free up your time? Something as simple as hiring someone to clean your house or cook meals could be a low-cost investment that hugely frees up your time.
Or another example, rather than saving a ton of money for your children’s education, what if you invested in travel experiences with your family? This may not be the best decision financially, but it would allow you to create long-lasting memories for your family and teach your kids about different cultures. This is why parents shouldn’t automatically assume saving for college is the best thing to do.
The overall message is that viewing wealth as time acts as a filter for your financial decisions and helps protect against buying things that truly aren’t aligned with your core values.
Time wealth changes your career decisions
Time wealth not only acts as a filter for your spending, but also for your career.
Let’s say you have children and you are offered a much higher paying job that would also require a more intense time commitment. When you view wealth as money, as opposed to time, you will very likely take the job because it will pay more and increase your net worth.
However, when you view wealth as time, it forces you to take a much deeper look at the time you are giving up. The most consistent value that I have heard from parents is the ability to be present and involved with their children’s lives. This time filter may save you from giving up precious time that can’t be replaced by more money.
What if you want to change careers to something you love, but it pays less? This can be a very difficult transition when we have the mindset of money as the measure of success. Taking a job you love increases your time wealth because you are now spending more of your time in a way that is aligned with your core values.
Time wealth changes how much money you need
People focusing on time wealth will naturally spend less than those focusing on money wealth. You will be a minimalist at heart and a very disciplined spender to make sure your money is being used in a way that is aligned with your core values.
In addition, “retirement” won’t ever be a goal for you. If you are maximizing your time wealth, why would you ever want to stop? This will result in you generating income longer, which decreases the amount of money that you need to have saved up to support your living expenses. This is why “traditional” financial decisions change when you never retire.
For example, let’s assume that your dream lifestyle costs $100,000/year. A traditional work-life path assumes that you stop working at age 65, which means you need to have $100,000/4% = $2,500,000 saved at age 65 to support your lifestyle. The 4% is a spending rate from your investment portfolio that has historically proven to work (or said different, you don’t run out of money).
Now, let’s say you work longer because you love what you’re doing! If you continue to work and earn $50,000/year, it means you only need to withdraw $100,000 – $50,000 = $50,000 from your investment portfolio each year. This means the amount you need to have saved up is $50,000/4% = $1,250,000.
Working longer takes the pressure off you to save a ton of money when you are younger and allows you to ditch the 9-5 sooner. It also enables you to spend more time maximizing your time wealth, as opposed to your money wealth.
- I challenge you to start changing the way you view wealth. It will be difficult, but it’s something that will become more comfortable over time. More money ≠ more happiness, rather more time = more happiness.
- If you create a time wealth filter, it will change your spending habits. You spend more on things that increase or enhance your time and less time on things that don’t.
- Spending less + working longer = higher ability for you to maximize your time wealth throughout your life. It’s okay not to have seven figures in an investment account. It’s important to save money, but do it in the right ways so you can maximize your time wealth throughout your life.
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