Benjamin Franklin is credited with the phrase “time is money”, an exhortation to not delay for tomorrow what work you can do today. While this sense of urgency continues to be a universal part of modern life, I think investors can better understand their financial priorities with the reverse thought, Money is Time.
Time is not a limitless resource. We have to choose how we spend our hours. And whether you are a billionaire mogul, a retiree, or a parent working two jobs, we all have the same 24 hours in each day. To me, the goal of money is not the acquisition of material objects, but to afford the privilege of spending my time in the way that I enjoy most. Money can give us the freedom to do what we want, when we want.
Money can enable us to retire from a job, if we no longer enjoy it. Money can allow us to pursue our interests rather than working solely for the money. Work-life balance requires money. Having the courage to turn down work you don’t need or don’t enjoy is only possible when you do not have worries about running out of money.
Money allows us to experience new things, to see the world, and expand our horizons. Money gives us the ability to spend our time where we want, doing what we want. I enjoy variety, and money provides the flexibility to get out of a routine and try other things.
Money can free us from the mundane. Why spend four hours a week cleaning your home if you can afford to hire someone else to do it? Then we can use those hours for something we might enjoy, something more permanent, meaningful, or memorable.
What is the number one reason people don’t go to the gym and take better care of themselves? Not enough time. And unfortunately, poor health can shave years or decades off your life. Having enough money allows you to reset your priorities.
We should stop thinking of money in terms of what it can purchase, and instead recognize that financial independence can give us the one thing that no one can buy: more time. This doesn’t have to be for leisure or laziness. Time could be spent being with those you love, or feeling the satisfaction of volunteering to make your community a better place.
Someone who hoards their money, refusing to spend a penny, is ultimately squandering their time. To allow years to pass without doing what you love, is perhaps the greatest tragedy. You can never get those years back. Many people are mature enough to realize that material possessions won’t bring happiness. But if we think of money in terms of how it can impact your time, the idea of saving and investing may become more appealing and relevant. Could you retire at 62 instead of 65 and give yourself three additional years while you are still young and healthy?
My passion for helping families lead The Good Life, is ultimately about giving you as much time back as possible. That’s why saving early in your career is so important. It is an investment in your future freedom. Now, if you enjoy your work, congratulations, that is a tremendous blessing. But retirement planning is for everyone – just because you love your work, doesn’t mean you don’t need a plan.
I know that for many people, there is not a desire to become a millionaire or to be wealthy. But we all have dreams that require time. Think about how your nest egg could allow you to achieve the life of your dreams. That may give you the real reason to save and invest – not for guilt or fear or greed. Investing is to buy time, experiences, and living. Money is time.