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.

Tell everyone, yo!