More time is a goal worth chasing

More time is a goal worth chasing

“Happy Weekend!” this blog or friends or others’ will exclaim!

On that note, most of us (myself included) are always so happy to see the weekend arrive, or a given weekday dawn, depending upon your schedule or shift of course to enjoy some well-deserved time off from work.

Yet as I inch closer to fulfilling my semi-retirement dreams (our latest financial independence update you can find right here) I often wonder if every day is going to feel like a Saturday in the years to come.

I mean, part of me hopes so, when I think of time. Finding a much broader, balanced approach to work and fun…

Here are some of the perspectives I’ve been thinking recently when it comes to work, play, time, and to the point of this blog, what does money have to do with it.

If you really enjoy your job, does it feel like work?

While there never seems to be enough time for anything these days outside of work (blame your lost downtime on your social media time for starters!), I’ve often wondered about folks who really, really love their job – does it feel like work to them anymore?

Here are some signs of that:

  • New tasks or assignments don’t annoy you or bother you, in fact, you might get your energy from them.
  • You enjoy seeing the results of your craft frequently. 
  • You enjoy working with those around you or people you deliver products and services for.
  • You are continually inspired by work.

I’m sure there are more…

There are definitely elements of the above that apply to my current role with my employer but as I get closer to realizing my financial independence, I must say I’m very much looking forward to the day whereby my most of my time (therefore not money whatsoever) is the ultimate management goal.

While time is money can be true in many corporate circumstances, the inverse is true after you realize financial independence – money has purchased some discretionary, finite time for you to use as you please. Financial independence makes work either far more fun or just simply optional.

Money does buy happiness to a point

Despite rising incomes, standards of living increasing around the world over time, people are also feeling increasingly pressed for time, anxious and stressed about well-being. With this rising income, happiness only increases to a point – surveys from various studies have shown that money only buys so much happiness.

Depending on the study you want to draw from, psychologists have found that modest life satisfaction comes from earning anywhere between $60,000 to $75,000 USD per year. Some families with children of course may need (and want) more, let alone individuals as well.

Time Spent and Money Spent

Now, certainly, if you make more money than this income per year could you be happier? I suppose that is quite possible and very likely for many of us. But my point is based on many studies, considerable orders of money beyond this income-level will not buy the equivalent amount of increased happiness. The relationships you have and the stable family environment you might enjoy, probably do. Your health is your ultimate form of wealth. That well-being will give you tremendous happiness too. In fact, with your health, it has been written and studied that volunteering, just as one example of giving, has been shown to minimize stress, reduce incidence of depression, and reduce long-term cognitive impairment – helping us live longer and more notably, a happier life.

So, while making good money is all well and good; while having a high net worth can absolutely signal to you and others “you’ve made it” happiness unlike money has a tipping point. Money is only part of what might make you truly happy.

A good reminder that any art of comparison to others can be the thief of joy.

Time is the ultimate currency

When it comes to investing, we’ve all heard that it’s time in the market that becomes your best friend (not trying to time the market itself).

That’s because the earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to work for you.

For investing, time is our collective ally. When it comes to life expectancy, time is always working against us. It’s the only currency we simply cannot buy or spend our way out of.

In fact, time gets arguably more valuable as we get older. Because there is less of it for us.

This means while possessions might make you feel good (or even great for a period of time), no new small trinket on earth will be more valuable than your time with the people you enjoy, with things or experiences that are valuable to you. 

Time is therefore our collective rare currency. It’s more precious than metals and money and other modern-day jewels like bitcoin combined!  The best part of time might be that it’s of equal value to every person regardless of their socio-economic class. Let that sink in for a bit. 

Financial independence will help balance my time

I guess in closing I see great beauty in time: it’s both all we have right now and all we don’t know we have in our future.

While time can be spent on anything, it can also be spent on nothing and wasted.

Time is not a resource that can be purchased or renewed.

So when it comes to my financial independence journey I’m trying to enjoy the ride there and I intend to enjoy the destination when I get there. That could mean working for years after I reach my destination in some shape or form. 

Our semi-retirement days are getting closer and it’s comforting to know we’re getting there through a solid savings rate, generally wise investing decisions, and good spending habits that operate below our expenses. These are all things I write about on this blog, how I approach those habits and how you can get there too.

This makes acquiring a better balance of time a great goal of mine. It’s a goal using financial independence worth chasing.

Mark

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe, join the journey to learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too! Follow my on Twitter @myownadvisor.

30 Responses to "More time is a goal worth chasing"

  1. Interesting article! It really got me thinking. I considered you’re thoughts about time getting more valuable the older we get. I almost wonder if it’s useful to think of it in the opposite way. For example, we all know that $100 today is more than $100 in 10 years. That’s because $100 received today can be invested for those 10 years. Also we know that inflation eats away at the value of money, and so $100 in 10 years will be able to purchase less than today. What if it was something similar for time? For example, time we spend on things we’d like to do today builds memories that we enjoy over the years. This would suggest that time today could be more valuable than time later.

    Reply
    1. I think equating time to money in the “early years” while useful may not be totally accurate. Consider food, water, other essentials. Those tend to be more valuable the more scarcity there is. The end game with our time is always unknown. I think that’s part of the beauty of it. We don’t know what we have left. We have right now to focus on. We have tomorrow to plan for. We have the past to cherish. It’s all very valuable for very different reasons 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
    2. Hi A.L.
      I agree with your thought on “early” time being more valuable (and unfortunately being squandered by some of those of younger years).
      Certainly given our current state under pandemic, I’m very grateful to have spend a large chunk of time travelling (while younger) and building those memories to enjoy now and in the future. I still want to travel more but I feel the constraints applied to future travel will make it a very much less enjoyable pursuit. The other benefit of doing thing in “younger time” is you tend to be a more adventurous and less constrained, that could be good or bad :), than in “older time”.

      Reply
  2. Couldn’t agree more, I left the corporate world in 2012 after feeling stressed out and angry for most of the time. I can say these years, while I gave up alot of material things the reduced work hours has been a huge stress reliever and only after I left was I seriously able to build a passive income portfolio. I am waiting for the portfolio to grow where I can achieve financial independence.

    Reply
    1. Feeling stressed out and angry is not good. I too, have learned to listen to my body and mind more as I get older. I hope to make more, improved changes all in good time. Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mark, perhaps a change you could consider is to reduce your work week, more precisely consider taking every Wednesday off.
        Wednesday? you say – Monday or Friday would give me long weekends. True. However your work weeks are now 2 days long (M,T and T,F) thereby on any given work day you have either come back from a relaxation period or are going to have one the next day – work stress drops dramatically – worked for me :).

        Reply
        1. I think my thinking is to take every Friday off for starters in a few years and see if I can continue to deliver. Do that for a year maybe and then scale back again after that to 0.5 (part-time) for a couple of years.

          Great to know it worked for you 🙂

          Reply
  3. Comparison is the “a thief of joy”. Great line and so true. Reminds me of the story of the fisherman who declined the opportunity to become wealthy to continue his existing, fullfiling life, with wife and kids. I have everything I need and love, he says.
    Happiness is a frame of mind. It’s hard not to get caught up in today’s marketing.
    Today I’m in a good place. One son told me that my wife and I are “good examples of health and fitness for he and his girlfriend” and the second said “your so fortunate to be able to travel so much”. I’m going to “frame” that thought.

    Reply
  4. I’ve had several changes in jobs and careers, and I can’t really say I disliked any of them. Yes there are things I can complain about, but overall I enjoyed working, enjoyed working with others and enjoyed that I was able to do the things I wanted to do with family and basically enjoyed the people we met and friends we made. What was difficult, more for the kids, was that we moved about every five years.
    I never considered retiring and probably would have just continued till I was no longer needed or wanted. But some personal issued changed and it took time to adjust to retirement. Now 15 years later, retirement seems the norm, but I still miss work.

    Reply
    1. With all those book royalties you’re not retired but semi-retired now 🙂

      Kidding aside, if you enjoy working and staying busy that’s great. Good on you. I hope to be doing something similar in my 70s as well cannew.

      Kudos to you.
      Mark

      Reply
  5. Fantastic article Mark. “Your health is the ultimate form of wealth.”
    No one gets off the rock alive so how do you want to spend your time? I want to make memories with those I care about, support charities I believe in and be remembered as being a man who cared more about people then the size of his wallet. You don’t need as much money to make these things happen as you think you do.

    Reply
  6. This is very timely and relevant for me. 50-something, burned out and over-stressed in a job where I am responsible for managing staff, finding new clients, managing workflows, and of course profit/loss. Pandemic times makes everything worse. Fortunately, I could decide to walk away tomorrow but am not yet at that point.

    I’ve always had an understated lifestyle – never cared what others thought and as I’ve aged I’ve come to realize how little that stuff matters. After the first few months, the guy in a BMW is no happier than the guy in a Corolla. And I’ve realized that a lot of the time I could have spent with my kids was spent chasing the latest client or project. You never get those years back. Fortunately I wasn’t completely absent and we’re still close! Experiences > Stuff

    Mark, you’ve said a few times that Health is Wealth and I totally agree.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for your comment BartBandy. From what I can tell, “you’re close” to your own financial independence. Experiences matter for sure.

      Continued success to you as well!

      Reply
  7. Thank you Mark for this amazing article. I especially like this sentence you made about time: “it’s both all we have right now and all we don’t know we have in our future.”
    About the question, whether money can buy happiness, I definitely think that a minimum of money is needed to take away the stress of making hands meet and being able to do things that we enjoy, but beyond that point, I have also seen millionaires unhappy because, for instance, they focused so much on making money that they forgot to spend time with their family and are now having poor connections with them.
    About the statement that “Time is not a resource that can be purchased […]”, I do not fully agree and think that it depends on how you define time. If it is time in general, then this statement is partially true because one could argue that good medical treatments can buy time (one can live longer). If you define time as one’s disposable free time, it can also be bought indirectly. For example, now that you have saved enough and invest smartly, you should soon be able to retire partially, which will give you more free time. Overall, I feel that are several ways to indirectly “buy” time, but of course, always in a limited way. Thus, I would say that time is not a resource that can be purchased directly, but it can be increased finitely.

    Reply
    1. Fair points and thanks for that. I guess what I was trying to articulate is you can find ways to maximize and optimize your time (for me a better balance as I get older between work and plan) but it’s not like you can essentially buy more of it and bank it. It cannot occur. Time can however be extended by exercise, diet and more.

      Millionaires can be very unhappy but not this one 🙂

      Reply
  8. Not mine but i have used this example in the past!

    The businessman and the fisherman

    One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

    About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman.

    “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

    The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

    “Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer. “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

    “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

    The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

    “And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.

    The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”

    Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

    The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

    The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

    Reply
  9. Time is the ultimate form of freedom. At the end of the day, time is all I want. Time to do the things that are valuable to me. Time to savor life.

    A lot of the actions I take today – saving, investing, exercising – are to gain time in the future. The problem is trying to balance future time with present time, because you never know how long you have.

    Don’t let life pass you by while you plan for ‘someday’.

    Reply
  10. One aspect we almost never talk about is what to do when you suddenly have 40+ hours a week free. I don’t know how many men after a few months or a year or two of retirment decide to go back to work. Thanks to covid my brother in law suddenly found himself in retirement. After about 6 months of going stir crazy he went back to work part time. My brother the same, 68 and still working. None went back to work for finacial reasons, most stay working as a way of keeping busy.

    Reply

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