She titled it simply: “How to Buy Happiness.” Wait a second, you say, money can’t buy happiness! There’s some truth to that, but what really is the value of money (and the value of time) in seeking lasting happiness?
Laura Vanderkam writes on her blog: “Time and money are both scarce resources. They are also resources that can be traded.”
These limited resources of time and money figure directly into the subject of legacy. I’ve written often that family legacy is about much more than transferring financial wealth.
But what is the value of money in building a rich legacy in our families?
The value of time: earn money
Think about it. Most of us trade our time for money. We go to work and exchange our time for a paycheck. Some of us value a bigger paycheck so we spend more time at work. And unfortunately, the goal can become accumulating a pot of money.
I once sat next to a young man on an airplane. He was just 24 years old and he told me that he’d already risen in the ranks to a management position and was raking in a cool $150,000 salary. The tradeoff? He was spending loads of time at work. He didn’t mind because from time to time he’d splurge on a two-week vacation.
What do you think? A good exchange? On the other hand, have you considered using your money to buy more time? Vanderkam writes about negotiating for more time.
The value of money: buy time
I remember a good friend of mine told me about how his dad faced a crucial decision in his career. He’d reached the ceiling in his position and unless he transferred to the corporate office it was unlikely he’d move up. But instead of moving, he negotiated to be able to take longer vacation periods. His employer valued his work and agreed. As a result, they went on wonderful vacations all over the country.
Think about it. Do you want to build a powerful legacy throughout your life? It won’t be because you leave a pot of money or the biggest financial inheritance.
Perhaps you can buy more time—trade your money for time.
(This idea is getting some attention recently, as in this article on Inc.com.)
The point is to create more moments to spend with your family, your loved ones, your friends. Even to have margin to help others. Some of that may mean saying no to a career move or choosing a reduced lifestyle.
It also may mean spending money on a housekeeper, or someone to run errands so you’ve got time with your spouse in the evenings.
Somehow, I don’t think anyone will say at the end of their days, “I wish I’d traded my time for more money.” Indeed, I think we’ll all be saying, “I’d gladly trade my money for more time.”
Consider the value of time. Consider what you’re trading your time to gain.
Are you leveraging this precious resource for what actually matters to you? Is it possible you could trade money for more time with the people you care about?
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com
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Published March 29, 2019
Topics: Family Legacy