Nov 062012
 

Wahhh! I’m so busy!

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard somebody in my life say that, I’d have enough for a real haircut, a lap dance, and a bag of chips. What? I have a very precise memory. It’s not quite a photographic memory, unless I’m remembering boobs.  I never forget boobs, even the boobs I might want to forget. Let’s move on.

The point is, we’re all busy. Some of us spend large amounts of time working, while others spend large amounts of time making jokes about breasts on the internet. (And by others I mean, well, this guy.) We’ve all got stuff that fills up our day, and once you add in obligations like watching your kids be horrible at hockey, there’s not a whole lot of me time. I’m an introvert, I get the importance of me time.

So what do we do? We outsource parts of our lives that need to be done, but we just can’t find the time to do. People hire cleaning ladies all the time, which never ceases to amuse me. (Just admit you’re lazy. It’s okay, I do it all the time.) Other people outsource cutting their grass, while other PF bloggers outsource stuff like commenting and actually writing posts.

Often, the justification for outsourcing goes a little something like this.

“At work, I make $30 per hour. Therefore, I can pay a kid $20 per week to cut my lawn and be ahead. GO ME!”

There’s a slight problem with that logic though. Astute readers have already figured it out. The rest of you are probably throwing feces at each other like baboons. God you disgust me.

What’s the flaw in the logic? It assumes you’re at work all the time. It assumes that you have unlimited hours to trade for your hourly wage. The fact is, when you make that statement, you’re probably sitting on your ass watching The Big Bang Theory. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing. I do it on a regular basis, usually naked, surrounded by at least 6 beautiful ladies. But when you exchange money for more relaxing time, it’s the beginning of a bad financial decision. And when you do this, it demonstrates your time is not worth more than money.

When you’re young, you often have more time than money. You’re unencumbered by certain responsibilities that older people have, like taking care of people who are either too young or too old to care for themselves. You typically don’t work as many hours because you’re just starting your career. So, naturally, your mind starts to wander to things you’ll do to fill those extra hours. Some people take on extra work, others choose to relax.

On the Twitter, my generation has a slogan. It’s You Only Live Once, or YOLO for short. Basically, the slogan justifies dumb financial decisions in exchange for cool life experiences. Anytime somebody spends a bunch of unnecessary money on something, that’s how they justify it. Now there’s not anything inherently wrong with exchanging money for experiences, as long as YOU DON’T EXCHANGE ALL YOUR MONEY FOR EXPERIENCES.

Freelancers will be quick to point out the flaws in my logic. They’ll all stand up and say “but Nelson, I can totally exchange as many hours as I want for more income. I outsource so I can go to Thailand and teach the local ladies what an American $100 bill looks like. YOLO forever.”

First of all, buying yourself more time is only valuable if you use that time wisely. Most people I know will only squander it. You can only relax so much, and most people have no source of income past their primary job. And secondly, most people I know already have ample time to get all their responsibilities done and relax. You’re not nearly as busy as you think you are. Your life is filled with crap like hour long commutes and pointless conference calls. Cut that stuff first.

Besides, you’re all forgetting one thing – opportunity costs.

When you’re young, you should be working as hard as you can. Why? Because every dollar you put away will be worth more when you get older, thanks to the magic of compound interest. Not only should you be maximizing your income, you should also be minimizing your expenses. Every $20 that you don’t pay a cleaning lady is $434 when you retire. (Assuming 40 years growth at 8%)

Every day we exchange money for time. You go to work, exchange each hour for $25 or whatever, and then you drive home, exchanging money for a quicker ride home. You make these types of decisions all day. Just keep in mind that unless you’re working, you’re spending money for more time. If you don’t have a lot of money, then maybe your time just isn’t worth that much.

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  22 Responses to “Your Time Is Not Worth More Than Money”

  1. “buying yourself more time is only valuable if you use that time wisely.”

    So true. I don’t buy the argument that your time is worth more than money because, most of the time, it’s just an excuse to be lazy. Which is fine, by the way, as long as you can admit it.

    I’m not the handiest guy, so I don’t know how to fix my furnace or even change my oil, for that matter. In that case, outsourcing the work makes sense. But I know how to push a lawnmower, paint a wall and do laundry. I do these things AFTER work, so I’m not on the clock. If I choose to outsource these chores, I’m basically buying some free time. That’s great, just don’t justify it as a smart pf move.

  2. I am lazy! I freely admit it! A couple of months ago, I decided to “fire” our lawn service. My wife and I mowed and edged our yard. It took both of us 1.5 hours. We pay our lawn service $35. We both make more than $35/hour so we can either have one of us work for less than an hour at our jobs (where we are air conditioned and sit our our bums) or we can spend 3 hours total doing yard work. Both of us can work as much overtime as we want, so I don’t understand how it doesn’t make sense for us to work at our jobs vs work at our lawn? If we enjoyed doing yard work, I could understand, but we don’t.

    • Two things:

      1. You may be able to work all the overtime you want. But will you actually do it? If the answer is yes, then feel free to make that trade-off.

      2. You probably suck at cutting/edging. If you did it more, you could cut the time down significantly.

  3. Absolutely – people overvalue their leisure time. How many people can continue making their $30 rate by working all weekend or whatever? Sorry – your weekend time isn’t worth as much as you think – so I don’t feel bad painting the rooms in my house.

    “Other people outsource cutting their grass, while other PF bloggers outsource stuff like commenting and actually writing posts.” – If I were to carry the argument to the extreme, I would state that writing DQYDJ is the most illogical, idiotic thing I do (well, for financial reasons). I make less than minimum wage… using revenue, mind you, not profit… yet I do it anyway. What say you now, bloggers?

    • @PK – maybe you’re doing it wrong? ;)

      Outsourcing commenting – is that an actual thing? Commenting on blogs is a social interaction…what is the benefit to outsourcing this activity? Can’t be for pr/networking because I’m assuming you’d be able to tell if the comment wasn’t really from that person. The link back from a comment is pretty much worthless, I’d think. Weird.

      • The Yakezie network told all these people to do it and rather than think about it, most people just blindly followed their all-knowing leader. But some are lazy, so they outsource it. We all laugh at them.

    • If you expect to make money off it, then it’s a poor idea. (You could also consider it an investment in future money-making blog opportunities in the way people justify an unpaid or poorly-paid internship, but the chances of making notable money off a blot are low, so that would still be a poor idea).
      If you enjoy writing your blog, then you can consider it a hobby, in which case it’s reasonable to put some time and money in it.

  4. This really stuck out to me:

    “When you’re young, you should be working as hard as you can. Why? Because every dollar you put away will be worth more when you get older, thanks to the magic of compound interest.”

    You should not be afraid of work in your 20s. I see friends wasting precious time on crap that doesn’t matter. This is the best damn time to work, save money, try out cool ideas, and prepare for the future when you have 4 kids that suck at hockey.

    • Opportunity costs are one of the most misunderstood topics in the whole PF world. You harp on people to work harder all the time. You get it, most others don’t.

  5. I agree with your general point.
    I think the original intent of calculating time against your real hourly wage at work was not the mixed up idea you quoted (and i agree, a lot of people screw that one up as you list), but simply as a way of thinking. If you value your time at x/hour, since that is what you are willing to accept for an hour of work, then you can consider whether you’d rather have your money and mow the lawn, or spend the money to get another hour in your day. Simply a way of looking at what you might pay for free time compared to how you currently accept money for time.
    Certainly there are people who work ridiculous hours a week either freelancing or on overtime who really can pay someone else to mow the lawn and then use the free time to make more money, but that wasn’t necessary to the point.

    Outsourcing something could be lazy, sure, but what I admit to is not so much laziness, but really hating cleaning. I can certainly be lazy, but that’s not my motivation for hiring someone to clean. It’s that a really hate cleaning and would consider the money worthwhile to not have to clean, whether I do something useful with the time or not. I don’t mind yard work (even if sure, I’m sometimes lazy about it), and wouldn’ pay someone else for that, but I’ll happily pay someone to do something I hate, assuming the money is available.
    (At present, I don’t pay anyone to clean, but my husband and I have definitely considered it.)

    • I don’t have a real big problem if someone says “screw it, I hate cleaning. I’ll hire someone to do it because I hate it so much.” Which is kinda where you’re at. I pay people to do stuff I don’t want to do all the time. I just don’t pretend it’s some magic elixir that’s letting me live the life of my dreams or other such nonsense.

  6. Nelson, you love your Subway correct? Let’s look at that outsourcing.

    Sure you have to eat. We all do. But eating, more specifically purchasing food, learning to prepare food, getting skilled / proficient at cooking or food preparation – these all take time. Time some rather not spend on these activities so they outsource it.

    Now, I understand you may stand up and say you’re lazy so you eat Subway. Fair enough.

    I guess you could call me lazy because I hire a cleaning lady. Actually I prefer to spend 6-8 hrs with my kid when i’m not working vs cleaning toilets, showers, floors etc. The cleaning lady is much better at cleaning than I ever will be, or care to be. So I outsource this mundane activity which pays for an experience, time with my son, that I can’t get back when i’m older and grey(er) afforded by the $440 for every $20 I spend for an hour of cleaning.

    • Yeah but a guy can’t live without food. Meanwhile, it’s totally possible to live in filth. lol. Not that I’m advocating it, I’m OCD.

    • You’re right in your example, except for one thing. I don’t pretend that going out for lunch is some sort of magical thing that frees up time so I can therefore exchange it for something better. I’m just eating. I’m not pretending it’s anything more than what it is, which is something I’d really like to see more people do.

  7. Exactly.

    Or how about people who work 100+ hours a week and (try to) brag they make double what you do? … they’re working DOUBLE the time. Of course they’re making more!

    I feel slightly guilty for not working 100% of the time while I’m young (more like 50%), but I also don’t spend money on unnecessary expenses, trying to justify that I make X amount per hour and it costs a fraction of that for me to pay someone else.

    That’s just ridiculous. With that kind of logic, I should hire a chef, a maid, 2 servants and a butler.

    Instead, I do my own groceries, clean my own place, take public transportation, and pick up pennies on the floor.

  8. [...] @ Financial Uproar writes Your Time Is Not Worth More Than Money – You’re supposed to outsource everything that you can while freeing up your time for [...]

  9. Both time and money should be handled with care as both can add up and be wasted if they aren’t.

  10. […] Your Time Is Not Worth More Money-Financial Uproar […]

  11. […] for sexy activities later. I’m saving time when I drive my car six blocks to Subway, and my time is valuable, dammit. What am I supposed to do, wait 9 extra minutes to shove a six-incher in my mouth? NOT WHAT I […]

  12. […] Financial Uproar says your time is not worth more than money […]

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