Time and Money

We’ve all heard that time is money. This simplistic saying doesn’t come close to capturing the complex relationship between these two things, one of them a resource that flows through our lives, and the other the medium through which our life is lived. For the truth is, time is what our life is made of. It is made of moments strung together one after the other. If the happy moments predominate we have a happy life. If it is unhappy moments that predominate, the life is unhappy. Time is much more valuable than money. It is delivered to us, measured and unstoppable. The same amount is given simultaneously to every living thing. We may enjoy divergent lengths to our lives, but no one gets to move ahead at a different rate.

Time and Money

Money is something we trade some of those moments to obtain. Every creature on this planet has to work to survive. The other species get their needs met directly. The predator uses energy to catch the prey. If successful he eats. Humans have created a symbol of energy to use as a means of exchange. We sell our time for a medium of exchange. Even in our modern world we recognize many things in our lives as being more important than the mere means of exchange. Love, family, wisdom, spiritual connection, friendship, creativity, and many more values are held above money. Yet, we have to eat. And therefore to earn our bread.

A good life is created by a balance between the exchange of energy for money and the use of the money to spend the time in happy moments. That is how we create meaning. The book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez have a very useful method to determine what you are really giving up when you take a job, in other words your actual wage.

The corollary to the saying that time is money is that money buys happiness. The accurate saying would be that poverty creates misery. Beyond a certain level of comfort, selling time for money is a bad deal. If you somehow get very lucky and manage to bring in more money than that without any further expenditure of energy, say by inventing something, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, think very carefully before getting swept into the fifty hour work week. Think very hard about what really matters, and whether more money or more time will help you get it.

I highly recommend this book; it will change how you think:


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