Just like the bills in our wallets, and the cash on our cards, time is a currency.
It is no different. We trade our time for money. We trade it by the hour, or we trade it by the year. Some of us trade our time for a high salary. Others trade their time for minimum wage. When we want something, we calculate how many hours, weeks, or months of our time we will need to trade for it. Our lives revolve around the amount of money we earn per unit of time.
Even most professionals, who earn a high return for their time, are still controlled by it. Because when they are not working, they’re not earning. Their situation is no different than the retail employee who takes off for a week’s vacation; neither are compensated for time unworked.
The high- and low-paid alike, we are all restricted by time.
And the world we live in encourages this. Demands it, even. As we work, we may aspire to reach a higher status, competing to become a manager, or a director, and so on. We know that each rung of this ladder will reward us with more money for our time, and these increments have us dreaming of an ever-increasing standard of life.
Time is, however, 100% non-refundable. We can always make more money, but we will never get more time.
So how much is your time really worth? Is your time worth as much as a doctor’s, or as little as minimum wage? The answer is the same across the board: Your time is priceless. The value of your time is determined by how you choose to spend it.
Free Yourself from Time
Not everyone is ruled by time. There are many people who have found ways to escape. But do not assume this means that these people do not work; I would argue that they work the hardest.
I am talking about those individuals who have built businesses or have accumulated assets that work for them even when they themselves are not working. After all, money never sleeps.
Real-estate is an excellent example. A piece of real estate, such as a house or condo, can be used to generate income. So instead of moving into the first home you can afford, why not instead buy the property and rent it out? Your tenants now pay the monthly expenses, including the mortgage, and now you own an asset that is worth more every year. The excess cash left over each month can be used to offset your own cost of living, and while your rental property generates income and increases in value, you can focus on setting aside money for another property.
Repeat this a couple times and you now own a real-estate portfolio, and are generating enough cash flow that you can effectively be free from time. So, go travel the world for a few years. Go back to school. Figure out how to monetize your hobby. Or keep working, and keep building.
Real-estate is one example of many. Maybe you decide to create digital products, like courses or software, putting in the time and effort on the front end and selling your products in perpetuity. Perhaps you start a business in your off hours that is focused around your hobby, and you leverage social media to grow it over time. Maybe you truly enjoy your job, decide to live modestly, and smartly invest a sizeable chunk of each pay check to harness the miracle that is compound interest.
Whatever you do, remember that while time is money, time is also scarce. It is the most valuable resource you have. It is yours. It belongs to you.
The way you spend your time now will determine how much of it you get to keep later.