How much do you really value your time?
Maybe it’s $50/hour.
The truth is, the hourly rate doesn’t really matter.
If the answer is a number, I’d say you don’t value your time nearly enough.
“Time is money” is a popular proverb.
However, I think it’s flat wrong.
Time Isn’t Money
Time isn’t money.
At least, it shouldn’t be. Not once you’ve achieved financial independence.
There comes a point in life where time should not be valued in dollar terms.
In my life, time has ceased to be correlated with money.
I used to think time is money, because I would simply exchange my time for money. And the wealthier and freer I became, the higher the number I’d put on the value of my time.
I used to work for $9/hour way back in the mid-’00s.
That was valuing my time very lowly, but I had no choice. I didn’t have any money. And I had to put a roof over my head and food in my belly. So I sold my time – the most valuable and accessible thing I had – to the first bidder.
But as I grew my wealth, options, and freedom in life, I went from going to the first bidder to the highest bidder.
There’s a sense of pride that strokes the ego when you can dictate exchanging your time for large amounts of money. When you can sell your time for, say, $100/hour, you feel highly valued. You feel like your time is being appropriately priced by the marketplace.
And rightly so, in relative terms.
Very few people can sell their time for $100/hour.
How To Value Time
However, I think the true value of time shouldn’t even be in money terms at all.
Not even $100,000 per hour.
Time is finite and dwindling. You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time.
Time is life. Money is paper.
To somehow value time in money terms greatly devalues time. It’s belittling it.
So how do we value time?
Time should be valued in terms of enjoyment.
I ask myself a simple question whenever I’m spending time and doing something:
Am I doing something that adds value to my life and the world around me, and am I enjoying this?
If the answer is no, I don’t do that thing.
It doesn’t matter how much that thing will pay me. It’s not about money at all.
I’d rather do something I love for free than something I hate for $100/hour.
Valuing your time in terms of enjoyment, rather than in terms of money, is valuing your time extremely highly.
In my view, that’s valuing your time correctly.
Become The Master Of Your Domain
Valuing your time in this manner is real control over your time and life. That’s total autonomy.
It’s power. And it makes you the master of your domain.
But how do we get to this position of power?
Well, it requires you to have enough money that you stop caring about it.
If you don’t have very much money, it’s almost impossible to not worry about money. If you’re poor, you have to value time around money. You have no choice.
So the change starts to occur when you build choice into your life. It’s about gaining options. Options allow for flexibility. And the more free you are, the more choice you have and the more flexible you are.
This change requires you to become financially independent.
Once you’re financially independent, you can say and do whatever you well please without fear of repercussions or how you’ll be able to pay your bills.
Some people these days find themselves without a job because of something they say on Twitter.
But a person who’s financially independent need not worry about such things.
And they also need not think that time is money.
Financial independence allows you to stop valuing your time in money terms. You’re then free to exchange your time in a very mindful and purposeful way, based around activities that add value and enjoyment to your life and the world around you.
For instance, the FIRE Fund, which is my real-money stock portfolio, generates enough five-figure passive dividend income for me to live off of. And that income is growing all by itself due to the nature of the dividend growth stocks in the Fund.
I was able to quit my job at 32 years old. This job was paying me $60,000 per year. I gave up millions of dollars by leaving this job behind.
But it was a situation where I stopped completely believing that time is money. I started to believe that time should be valued in a very different way.
Time should be spent on projects I enjoy.
And I didn’t enjoy the job. So I quit.
I was only able to do this, though, because I had lived below my means and intelligently invested my capital for a number of years beforehand.
Without that financial flexibility, I couldn’t have left the job. If I had never saved and invested, I’d almost certainly still be at that job, exchanging my time for money. And I would have missed out on all of the amazing adventures I’ve had over the last six years.
I didn’t write this article because I thought it would make me a lot of money.
Instead, I wrote it because I enjoyed it. And I think it might add a little bit of value to the world by inspiring a few people out there, which adds value back into my life.
If you think time is money, I implore you to consider coming up with a new valuation model.
Doing so will, of course, require becoming financially independent.
Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to achieve financial independence in this age of abundance. I achieved financial independence in just six years, at the age of 33, without a college degree or high-paying job. My recent best-selling book, 5 Steps To Retire In 5 Years, lays out how practically anyone can do the same thing.
Time isn’t money.
Time is worth much, much more than that.
Value it correctly.
What do you think? Do you value your time like this? Or do you think time is still money?
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you’re interested in achieving financial independence and becoming the master of your domain, make sure to check out some awesome resources I personally used on my way to becoming financially free at 33!