The Best Use of Money Is to Trade It for More Time

Tim Denning

Lambo, no. One year of time equals yes please. Here’s why.

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Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

A lot of people want fancy.

They want a luxury house, designer clothes, or a Lambo. Recent research from the University of British Columbia agrees. I used to be that person. It left me lost, alone, single and suffering from depression. Over the last five years I’ve slowly moved further away from this idea of a luxury life.

Yesterday I bought a high-end office chair to help with my back pain. Beyond that, I really couldn’t give a damn about luxury unless it fixes a huge health problem. My 2012 Macbook is “enough.”

Instead of buying a luxury Lambo, imagine if the trend went in a new direction. Imagine if we started worshipping buying back chunks of time. The tweet would read like this: “I just bought 1 year of time thanks to my side hustle.” Buying time back is another way to think about money.

Finance writer Ben Le Fort gave me a great reminder when he said this:

After all, the best use of money is to trade it for more time.

The lifelong dream of *not* becoming a millionaire

My partner’s lifelong dream isn’t to become a millionaire. She wants to volunteer for a charity full-time. She’s not waiting for this fantasy to become true either. She started volunteering at a food bank many years ago. She wants to slowly transition to that line of work. It’s one of the reasons I’m marrying her: helping others transcends the me, me, me pandemic.

She learns a lot from the people she helps. She helps to solve the poverty problem that she hasn’t experienced.

Writer Kele Motgotsi explains that one of the best parts about work is “the joy earned from fostering close relationships…and a sense of achievement.” That’s what my partner has discovered.

Who you spend time with brings you joy.

Money often makes people more and more lonely, and they can even become totally isolated. My friend’s dad is an 80-something-year-old. He’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. During the pandemic he isolated himself from his children and grandchildren. He turned his home into a makeshift bunker and spent a lot of alone time in his garage with his $1M Bentley. People can’t relate to him anymore because he simply has so much money.

Your relatability goes down when you become extremely wealthy.

That’s why I personally don’t want to be that wealthy. My partner and I want to buy more and more of our time back to spend doing work that doesn’t necessarily have to make any money.

Extra time allows us to volunteer for a cause we care about.

Time to hit the reset button on life

A job has one huge downside: workplace politics. I don’t care whether you’re a corporate angel floating to work on a cloud of niceness, the workplace politics virus will infect you.

Solving problems is easy. Solving problems when it affects someone’s career or financial incentives is tough. After you’ve been at a job for a while the politics will seep into your life. It’s not hard at the beginning, but after years of it, it can become tiring. That’s how I felt. Two jobs back-to-back, where politics got more attention than actually serving customers. The brilliant actors would “play” nice and then ruin lives while working from home, to advance their careers. The workplace politics leaves you feeling angry.

Buying time back allows you to spend more time in between jobs. This valuable time is underrated. It’s the time where you hit the reset button and let your mind expand once again.

All the focus on revenue, revenue, revenue gets exhausting. You feel like a cog in an economic machine you can’t relate to. It's been a few weeks. My mind is slowly recovering. I’m seeing people differently. The penguins in suits, as Kele Mogotsi puts it, have gone back to their igloos to work on their next master plan.

Time buys you a reset. During the reset you may decide not to go back to a job. Or you might make the next job the last. This time equals power.

Time helps you work on a project you love

We all have those projects we sweep under the carpet until time gets away from us, and before we know it, it’s time to retire and do them.

Writing has been like that for me. I have a silly dream to start a newsletter and make an online space where most of my energy goes. I traded money for time to work on this project. So far, it’s been enormously rewarding. Oh, and I’m the only subscriber to it…haha.

Why wait to finish a passion project? You can use money to buy time to finish the project now. What I’ve learned is, in the process you may discover this project could completely disrupt how you work in the future. You might go from five days at a job to four to work on it. You might drop all the excuses and decide to chip away at it after hours while working a job.

Passion projects bring out a different level of energy inside of us. That energy holds our future potential.

Time to educate yourself financially

When you buy a block of time, it can be used to help you buy more blocks of time. Time is bought with money, and educating yourself on the basics of finance can help you buy even more.

It starts with learning about each asset class — gold/silver, crypto, stocks, bonds, real estate — and then figuring out the percentage of money to invest in each that is right for you (aka asset allocation). Buy back time to spend it on figuring out how to compound it further.

Assets increase your disposable time.

Time spent doing work you love can actually, paradoxically, make you more money

When we think of doing work we love, the first thought is often that it won’t make any money. That can be true at the start.

What I’ve found odd is that doing work you love without thinking about money, eventually, helps you make more money. Work you inject passion (energy) into because you love it, transfers energy to other people.

Without going all law-of-attraction and woo-woo, that energy creates opportunities. The challenge is they don’t look like opportunities. What you get in practical terms are comments, direct messages on social media, and emails. This communication looks useless until you start engaging with it. When you do, it turns into conversations. Conversations are where opportunities lie, not in passive income fantasies that often make $0.

So when you use money to trade for extra time, bizarrely, you end up with more money to buy even more time.

Lesson: Not focusing on money makes money.

Final Thought

The Lambo dealership can keep their broken dreams. Imagine a world where we don’t worship people who give up their time and trade it for physical objects. Imagine a world instead where we use money to measure how much time we can buy back to inject into an area of life we’re yet to figure out. Imagine money giving you time to explore your curiosity.

Money can buy you more time.

Start with one small step. Use money to quietly buy two weeks of extra annual leave at your job (on top of the standard four weeks per year). Use these two weeks to consciously see the real power money can create in life when it’s not wasted on material luxuries.

The real billionaires are the ones who have time.

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This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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