Why you can’t be wealthy working a 9–5, 50 hours a week.

Samuel Wood
Nov 8, 2015 · 3 min read

Although this is a personal post sharing my thoughts on the relationship between time and money. This is something that I will use to reflect upon over time and I’m extremely curious to see how my thoughts change as I age.


Money is exchanged where value is transferred from one individual to another.

First thought: 9 to 5 work is service work. You are renting your time for a fixed price. It is hugely time intensive work where you exchange your time for money. If we looked at a 9–5 job as a business we would conclude it is not scalable. The income of a 9–5 worker has a finite potential. It is limited to time x wage/hour. Where time is relatively fixed and wage is negotiable to an extent.

Even if we exaggerated for examples purposes:

the maximum figure any one 9–5 worker can earn is 24hours x the highest wage per hour they can negotiate.

I dislike this model.

The issue with the model is that the value you create can only be consumed once. In economics we would call this a non-durable good.

The alternative (superior) model to this is one where you spend time creating an asset that can be consumed, rented or sold again and again.

For example: If you’re a writer and you create a digital book this is very time intensive to start with as you have to spend countless hours writing great content creating the book.

However once the book is complete and released online, this is an asset that can be consumed by an infinite amount of customers with no marginal cost. Meaning that your revenue opportunity is unlimited and virtually no further time is required from you to continue earning. On top of this, there are no costs for shipping and delivering the asset (completed book) to the customer. You’re then free to duplicate the model and create as many similar income streams as you can.

This post was intended to challenge the conventional views on working and money. . But above all, I just hope this post helps people to start questioning ways in which they can add value to people without having to physically be at a certain location or spending X amount of hours working.

I believe true wealth cannot be measured in monetary units alone, but it also has to factor in the concept of ‘disposable time’. This is free time that you have to spend on what you care about.

So if you asked me who is wealthier out of the banker who continuously chases a higher wage/hour and more hours/month versus the individual who makes the equivalent through multiple time independent income streams…

I will conclude the latter dominates the banker, every time.

Samuel Wood

P.S. I also made a free spreadsheet to help you reverse engineer your financial goals. Get it here.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store