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Time is money

This is a fairly popular saying that originates from an essay by Benjamin Franklin published in 1748. The saying is meant to convey the monetary cost of laziness, but, as with anything, there is so much more to it than meets the eye.

I must admit, my thinking is slightly different when I hear this phrase, let me explain…

Money > Time

Anyone who is currently working swaps their time for money regularly. When we are young and have lots of time, money can feel more important than time and we will freely give up more and more time to chase the next promotion and climb the career ladder.

If you get a raise, you earn more money for the time you ‘spend’ at work and vice versa if you work more hours for the same wage.

Time > money

As you age and the amount in your ‘time bank’ depletes, the value of your time increases. We start to realise that time spent doing the things you love to do (with the people you love) is more valuable than money.

Often, when a busy business owner or equity partner come to us, this is exactly where they are. Money and income, but a distinct lack of free time. As free time becomes scarce, it becomes significantly more valuable.

You can use money to buy more time; using the stored money to allow you to take a long holiday, a sabbatical or retire altogether. Buying yourself free time to do the things that really matter to you.

The key is to do this without causing the future you a cashflow problem.

Time well spent

Let’s take it one step further… Think about what time well spent means to you? For me, it means living a life you really want to live, collecting memories and experiences and spending time with those dearest to you. This doesn’t necessarily mean immediate retirement, but it might mean structuring your life and your finances in pursuit of creating pockets of time well spent.

Where does that leave us with our original phrase? I feel like it conveys the wrong message, but with a small tweak to the words used and the order they are in we can create an new phrase…

“Money facilitates time well spent”.

Much better and also happens to cover how we feel about the world. What do you think?