We’ve all probably heard the phrase that says “time is money” which seems to draw its roots from a Benjamin Franklin quote. And if I’m treating that phrase like a math problem then the reverse would be true as well; money is time. I guess it’s kind of like if A=B then B=A. Seems simple, right? But do we really think money equals time?
The phrase “time is money” is embedded in our language due to the fact that so many people either get paid by the hour or are billed by the hour by a vendor for services, so it is drilled home in our minds that each increment of time equals more money. Apart from my early part time jobs in high school and college, I’ve never had to work at a job that tracked my every hour and minute to bill a customer. I do think it is a bit humorous that some of the highest paid workers in our society (lawyers) have to diligently track their time since they bill their clients by the hour or even minute. Ask any attorney and they will definitely agree that time is in fact money.
I think the phrase is also very key to compound interest and all the benefits that we discuss on this blog. If you have time (years) to save and compound your earnings, I firmly believe you’ll be able to realize most, if not all, of your financial goals, whether they are retirement (even early), or something like saving for your child’s college education, or just saving enough to be able to have the financial freedom to do what you like and not have to worry too much about money. That’s one of the key reasons why I love compound interest. If you have the time, it will often equal money.
That reverse concept that money is time has been pressing on my mind an awful lot lately too (particularly as it relates to retirement savings). I’ve essentially determined that what I’m doing by saving for retirement is saving for a point in my life when my time will be for me (and not for my boss or company I may work for). I talk about retirement not as a time to just sit on the beach and sip umbrella drinks, but a time where I will have decreased daily obligations a.k.a. an increase in daily freedom. And to me that spells TIME and FREEDOM.
If I have enough money saved, I can back away from a full-time job/career and reclaim my time for me and my pursuits (which I did recently). Actually I should say that it will allow me to reclaim time for my passions. And of course one of my key passions is teaching and helping others with their personal finance, investing and saving. Even if I don’t get paid what I do now in my regular day job, it won’t matter because I’ll have achieved a level of financial freedom that allows me to throttle back a bit and enjoy the ride for the rest of my life. The MONEY I’ll have saved will definitely equal TIME that I’ll reclaim for me.
So what does time equal for you?
What does money equal for you?