The Wealth of Time

The Wealth of Time

A stack of coins with a clock in the background.

We forget about the wealth of time. Money is too much in the forefront of our minds. Let’s bring time into the forefront. Image by stevepb.

The Wealth of Time

Long ago, I realized that what I really wanted was time. This makes me a highly unorthodox money coach. It even makes me a bit of a Fool. I prefer time to money, sometimes to the point of taking great risks around money in order to have more time.

I’m not saying you should do that. But I’m saying if you do it, or you want to do it, I can definitely help you feel like less of a small-f fool, and embrace your archetypal risk-taking Fool.

I am saying it makes sense to prefer time to money. That’s not foolish in any way. It’s uncommon,  yes. It’s not sanctioned by our society, no. And it’s definitely part of peaceful & ethical money management in my book.

You are Wealthy

We all receive exactly the same amount of time. No one is born with less time in a day than another person. There is an innate equality of time that’s unlike any other birthright we get just for being human.

And this wealth of ours is enormous. In fact, it clearly burdens many of us. Many of us have much more time than we know what to do with. You can tell by the things we do to use up the time we have, as though it made us nervous to have so much time: Social media. Television. Shopaholism. Hoarding. Magazines. All those things are fine. But every one of them can be cut out of your life entirely or partially if you want to recover your wealth.

And that’s the beauty of time: it’s always there for you. You can always reclaim your wealth of time. But above all, don’t:

  • let your wealth of time make you nervous
  • go cheap for money
  • trade one minute for money without consciously choosing to

Don’t let your wealth of time make you nervous

When we let time make us nervous, we invent things to do with our time we regret. Then we develop a pattern or habit of doing those things. And then we complain about it. And feel sophisticated or important because we’re so busy. Forget it! Start vocally, publicly praising downtime, quiet time, relaxation, spaciousness, time off, retreating, and staycations.

Don’t go cheap for money

Don’t do just any old thing for money, or for more money. Think about why you need the money. Are you enslaved to it? Addicted to it? Impressed by it? Think about why. Why do you give away your time for money? Watch what you will do for money, whom with, and whom to. Watch what you won’t do for money. Make sure they’re consistent with your values!

Don’t trade one minute for money without consciously choosing to

Notice that you are trading time for money. Time is real; money’s not. You are giving up something real, like your skin or your breath, for something that is not real. At best, money buys you something real. At worst, money buys you back the time you spent to make it, diminished. Pay attention to how you make the trade, and choose consciously. Money is a poor substitute for time.

Don’t get me wrong:

I love so much that money will buy me. I just love time more.

Ideas for Pocketing More of Your Time

    1. Work less.
    2. Spend less.
    3. Get quiet with quiet, calm down when it’s calm: be ok with silence and stillness.
    4. Gravitate to people who are also doing #3.
    5. Share more. Collaborate, cooperate, buy expensive things together with other people and share them.
    6. Plan how you will use your time. So many of our posts in this category will help you.
    7. Say “no” when you need to.
    8. Say “no” when you feel like it. Practice til you get good at it. This is a key way our culture steals our time, by making us feel weird or bad about declining opportunities, invitations, parties, events, engagement large and small. Just. Say. No.
    9. What’s your favorite? Share it here in a comment to this post. Or don’t, and save yourself some time. 🙂
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  • jack wilbern
    Posted at 12:07h, 16 February Reply

    The undeniable pleasure of waking up slow with your loved one. Having a child fall asleep on your chest. This past couple of years we have been learning that the ultimate luxury is quality time.

    • Beth
      Posted at 00:44h, 17 February Reply

      So lovely, Jack! I’m more and more compelled that our true luxury is time.

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  • Jennie
    Posted at 22:06h, 18 July Reply

    This is one of your best posts ever.

    • Beth
      Posted at 22:37h, 18 July Reply

      Jennie, my goodness, you’ve been reading forever: this is huge praise. Thank you! I’m glad it’s meaningful. It’s funny how easy it was to write; of course I wish they were all that way. It’s something that runs so deep in me, this “wealth of time.” Thank you!!!

  • Laurie Harrington
    Posted at 16:05h, 13 July Reply

    Ah, Beth, I always believed that time was more real than money. We have debased our lives by turning time into money.

    • Beth
      Posted at 22:25h, 13 July Reply

      Laurie, so great to hear from you! The thing I am trying to say here is that we can stop doing that. It’s a lot easier than people think. It takes work–but many of the tools are in our hands. Love!

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