Money Value of Time

Like my children, most people just don’t get the money value of time.  My daughter was stressing out today trying to get her school iPad working.  It’s glitchy and something I’m unable to help her with without significant effort and on top of that, the iPad doesn’t belong to me. I risk revocation of the warranty by digging into the issue. She admitted she was trying to get her homework done early as we offer our kids a “wage” for getting their homework done early.  She was trying desperately to get her homework done before dinner to meet the requirement of one of her money-making potentials in our household.  Just like my daughter, we all piss away our time without thought to the value of that time. We waste time on frivolous activities.  We do things we don’t want to do, like go to parties we have no interest in.  We stress out trying to figure out a problem when we could get an expert to help us.  We try adding some light fixture in our house risking not only a lost afternoon but physical injury when an electrician could do it in an hour.  No matter what you make as a wage you can calculate the money value of your time.

If you make $10 per hour, an hour of your time spent doing something you don’t want to do is equivalent to burning a ten-dollar bill.  Likewise if you make $20 per hour, an hour lost to stress or other unwanted activities is burning a twenty-dollar bill.  This can be then taken down to the minute.  For instant my daughter was trying to earn a dollar getting all of her homework done early.  What normally takes her twenty minutes was taking an hour.   She reduced her income from a dollar in twenty minutes to a dollar an hour, a sixty-six cent lost.  She lost money stressing about getting her homework done.  I tried to explain this concept but it just didn’t sink in.  I’ll explain it again and again with the hope some day it will click.

My point in this short little story is we all have a precious commodity in this life.  Time is the one truly replenishing resources we have.  Everyday starts anew.  How we spend our time is an investment in the future with returns we have yet to realize.  Taking time to learn is a huge investment that creates real income earning potential as well as the possibility of financial freedom if we invest our time and finances wisely.  So, remember the next time you are doing something you don’t want to do, ask yourself what the money value of you time is.  Are you getting a return on your investment?

If you spent 6 hours installing a light fixture when an electrician could have done it in an hour, ask yourself is it worth it to me to have someone else do it.  you could gain five or more hours back and thus invest your time elsewhere. Likewise at work, when you don’t delegate your time as a manager, what is the true cost of your investment?  Is the company getting a good return on their investment in you?

Time is not money.  However, your time is an investment in your future if you spend it with an eye on a return.  Time well spent is an investment in future sustainability, connections with others or simply long-term happiness.  Otherwise, your time evaporates into meaninglessness.

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