Time Versus Money

Which One Do You Want More?

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

The above quote comes from Ben Franklin, who shared it in a letter he wrote in 1789. Whether you agree or not, these have become fairly universal truths, at least for most of us Americans.

At this point in my life, I don’t really believe in that many absolute truths, other than the two Mr. Franklin shares. For the most part, I try not to overgeneralize or assert my beliefs onto anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s healthy to share and discuss what you believe in with others, but as soon as you force your truths onto someone else, bad things start to happen.

Like many others, I tend to think about Ben Franklin’s two truths a lot.

This may sound a little morbid, but it’s not what you think.

Instead of obsessing about death, I tend to think about the time I have and how I spend it. In much the same way, instead of taxes, I usually think about money as a tool to accomplish other things I want in life. These mainly look like experiences I want to share with others.

These seem like universal topics of discussion for most humans.

Personally, I tend to think about these two truths and how they relate to my professional life, which isn’t much of a surprise.

After all, most people worry about finding a job (which takes up a majority of their time) in order to make money (so they can pay for taxes, among many other things).

When I stop and think about this, one overall truth begins to emerge:

Ultimately, you can only have one of these things at a time.

Think about it.

If your goal is to make money, how do you accomplish this? By giving up massive amounts of your time, typically at a job you don’t enjoy.

Alternatively, if you are just getting started and care more about how you spend your time, you can say goodbye to a steady paycheck.

Like most cases, I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, but they are far and few between. These tend to fall later on in your career once you have enough money to make more time available.

Since this can be a polarizing topic, I naturally feel pretty strongly about this choice between time or money.

If you think about these two things as resources, things become pretty clear.

One is renewable and one isn’t.

Just like water, oxygen, and wood, money is a renewable resource. Not only is it made from a sustainable material — paper (which is essentially made from wood pulp, which can be broken down into wood and water); you can earn more of it by utilizing a marketable skill.

Now keep in mind, I never said this was an easy thing to do. Many people go through their entirely lives trying to find and hone this skill. Some are naturally born with it and some have to work their asses off to develop it. Either way, money is available for the taking once this skill is ready.

Now consider time. We all have a finite amount, even though we’re not exactly sure what that is. Once our time is spent, it’s gone forever. If you are fortunate enough to have money, you can free up your time, but you will never get it back and you can’t buy more.

It’s pretty clear which of these should come first.

For me, it has never been a choice.

Even as a young, immature college student, I knew that my time on Earth was extremely valuable, just like everyone else’s.

Knowing this, I’ve decided to give up short-term financial stability in order to make the most of my time.

What has this looked like?

Giving up a 9-to-5 job with salary and benefits in order to create my own path, little by little. Because of this, I honestly feel I’m am closer to actualizing my life’s purpose.

What surprises me is everyone’s tendency to think in the short-term.

Knowing that time is more valuable than money, why don’t more people ask for more time off or the ability to work remotely instead of a raise?

This extra time could be spent identifying and pursuing your life’s purpose, rather than accumulating more money. I understand we all need money to survive, but let me leave you with one last question:

What good is surviving with money if you are living without a purpose?

Which means more to you: time or money? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @williamfrazr.

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