Today, we talk about your most valuable asset, time. Your allotment is decreasing every day, so use it with purpose and intention.
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Time is your most valuable asset. As soon as you’re born, the countdown starts. No one can tell you how much time you’ve got left, but it’s a finite number.
I’ve been very conscious of the preciousness of time as I’ve gone through my mid-life crisis. I increasingly feel like I have less and less time to spare. Between my new administrative duties at work, my real estate investing, blogging, and family duties, I often feel so starved for time that it’s maddening. Time spent in one activity inevitably seems to shortchange another competing activity or responsibility.
The 2011 movie, “In Time” took this concept of time as an asset to an extreme. Actors Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried run through a dystopian future with their lives literally ticking away on their wrists. Time is so precious that it’s used as currency, traded for everything from a haircut to a new car. When the counter drops to zero, it’s game over.
In the movie, the rich folk move around gracefully and slowly, secure in the knowledge that they have time to spare. The poor folk scurry around, always running and hustling to score a few more minutes of life.
Although the critics were largely unimpressed with this movie, I found the foundational concept of time as an asset truly fascinating.
Time is an asset with relative value
Time is a strange asset, though. Its value fluctuates depending on your age, and even depending on your day. Just when you want to start savoring it, it seems to slip away.
Do you remember the endless summers in grade school, when those hot days and nights seemed to last forever? On the east coast where I grew up, my summer break seemed like one idyllic, never-ending mix of sweaty games of tag, cut grass, bikes, books, and adventures with friends.
Now, I blink twice and my child is a year older. I turn away for a moment, and summer turns to fall. If I stop to catch my breath, it’s suddenly New Year’s again.
My time grows more valuable with each passing moment. But the busier I am at work and at home, the faster my weeks seem to fly by.
I trade my time for money
As an employed surgeon, I’m essentially an hourly worker. Since I provide a specialized service, I do get paid well for my time. But if I decide one day that I’d rather spend my time going to the beach, I won’t get paid (and I’ll probably get fired).
I signed my employment contract willingly, but when I think back to my mindset when I graduated from residency, I didn’t know there was any other way. I was $300,000 in debt and had no marketable skills other than doctoring.
Now just a few years after my realization that I could become financially independent, most of my investment activities are geared to creating passive income instead of active income.
With enough passive income, I hope to break free from the obligation of my work-week, and instead be more intentional on the time I devote to my job.
How to value your time
So you might be wondering how to treat your time with the respect it deserves. I struggle with this every single week. I don’t have it all worked out yet, but for me, a few realizations have been important:
- Time is an asset that increases in value as you age.
- Any job that pays you an hourly wage likely undervalues your time
- Spend your extra time working to free yourself from activities you don’t enjoy
In summary, time is your most valuable asset. How valuable? You won’t ever really know, because you don’t know how much of it you’ve got left.
I trade my time for money and I’m paid well. But as my net worth increases, I increasingly feel the desire to cut out the parts of my life I don’t enjoy.
So I’m trying to use my time and money to lay the groundwork for businesses that will generate passive income.
This blog is a business that has so far taken up an incredible amount of time for not much income. But I really enjoy writing, and I think one day the time to income ratio will change.
The main way I’m hoping to regain control over my time is via real estate investing. It’s going well, but we’re certainly having growing pains. You can read the latest on this here:
- Leaks, fires, and pit bulls (oh my!): Anno Darwinii 1.25
- The real estate empire has grown! Anno Darwinii 1.0
- Rental empire under siege: Anno Darwinii 0.75
If you’re reading this post and feeling despondent over the way you’re spending your precious time, stop it! Channel that emotion and instead think about what you can do to start changing your situation.
How are you going to regain control over time, your most valuable asset? Comment below and subscribe for more!
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