What’s More Important: Money or Time?

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When I was looking for a job, one of the main things I told myself, and everyone involved, was that I was looking to sacrifice a bit of my time in order to make a little more money. What that meant was that I’d take a job with better pay and longer hours now because money was a commodity I wanted and time was not. Outside of work, I have few demands on my time, very few of those can’t be sacrificed for the sake of work. I play some intramural sports (softball, kickball) and I take MBA classes, except for those two things my time is pretty much wide open (okay okay, I have a fiancee too, most important, very special). At this point in my life, I would take money over time.

However, that won’t always be the case. Slowly that slider will start moving from money towards time, probably once kids start entering the picture. See, I don’t want to be that father that’s always at work. You know what I’m talking about, the one who kills himself for their 9-to-5. I understand companies value their employees, I recognize that people seek fulfillment and doing a good job is a great way to feel good about yourself, and I see all around me all the folks burning the midnight oil to get that task done. I’m cool with all that… but I think that family trumps work and work is honestly just a way to feed your family. Don’t forget what you’re working for right?

I’m young, so right now I can put my head down and focus on working hard. However, I can’t do it for too long or get too used to doing it because I might one day look in the mirror and see a head full of gray hairs and no idea who my children are. You could offer me a million bucks and I still wouldn’t do it, money doesn’t buy you that feeling of fulfillment.

For the sake of work, would you skip your child’s wedding in order to handle a crisis? What about the birth of your grandchild? What about their little league baseball game? Or a soccer playoff game? How about their sixth grade graduation or them just getting an award for a perfect attendance. Money is easy to quantify and time is not, but I just gave you a pretty good list of things you might one day have to trade in for money… if you want to. I don’t. When my little ragamuffins get stupid awards for not giving everyone the chicken pox, I’m going to be there.

Am I just an idealistic kid who hasn’t lived the real world long enough?

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “What’s More Important: Money or Time?”

  1. Jason says:

    You’re absolutely right; the slider does move. It really all depends on where your priorities lie. Right now, with few hard and fast demands on your time, you should focus on making the money; you’re going to want it later on. There are some people who’s focus never wavers from their career, even once a family enters the picture. If you subordinate your family to your job, for whatever reason (if you feel like your contribution is earning more money so they can enjoy life, or whatever), it’s something you have to live with. It’s really not right or wrong, and I don’t want to be a person who says “Your priorities are screwed up”. I know the decisions I’ve made, but it’s not fair to say that they are the empirically “correct” decisions. Good post.

  2. Zook says:

    Man…I gotta side with time…

    I think many folks that read quality blogs like this get the idea that you can have your cake and eat it too…

    I would like to think that I never need to make $250K a year to be happy…I dont make anything near that, yet I have nice clothes, nice cars, nice condo, wonderful wife, great family and travel as much as I can. And I am not in debt and save as much as I can.

    But with a gun to my head, I would side with time. If more folks would spend more of it with their family, we would be better off.

  3. cami says:

    While I think that for many people, myself included, the slider may shift from work to time as life progresses, I think that you can have the slider too far into the work zone even if you don’t have a family. For me, I plan on using my time even when single and young. There are books to be read, activities to volunteer for, places to go, and new people to meet. While it’s great to step back and reassess your priorities once you have family, I think it’s important to do that while your still young and single. We have no guarantee how long we’ll be hanging out on this planet; we might not make it to the point where we have a family, but I don’t think that means that we shouldn’t value our time.

    Btw, they vaccinate against chicken pox now, which I think is kind of sad (it was a rite of passage when I was a kid).

  4. Dennis says:

    Time is a precious and limited resource. If you’re able to find a job that you truly a joy, the time spent working shouldn’t seem as “costly”.

  5. Art Dinkin says:

    I like your analogy of the slider, because it has been true in my career. Mind you, I have always been self-employed or paid on commission. For me, time always was money. I started at age 23, single, and about all I had was time. I was either at work, or studying professional topics at least 12 hours a day during the week and on Saturdays I would only put in 1/2 days… 8 hours.

    My life is nothing like that now at 41 years old. I am married with 2 kids and a dog. I love my work and I am excited to get to the office every day. I generally work about 8:30 – 5:30 Monday through Thursday and 8 – Noon on Friday. Weekend work is almost a thing of the past. Occasionally I work in the evening after the kids are in bed, and sometimes I take a day off to play or be with my kids.

    There is definitely less stress in my life as it is more balanced, and my income increases as my practice grows. So much of that early effort was spent building a practice which now requires less effort to grow. Ben recently made a good post which I thought was insightful.

  6. Rogers Place says:

    In the company your time is money. In the eyes the the nations largest retailer W****rt your time apparently isn’t worth much. Computer scheduling to improve their checkout personnal to save them money, because time is money and you can’t have a checker standing doing nothing for too long.

    But it’s ok to waste my time, it’s money for me, maybe I have to pay a $10.00 late fee to the daycare because I had to stand in line for an extra 15 minutes I should not of had too.

    How about if I just got tired of waiting and abanded my cart with $345.00 dollars in it. Maybe then they’d realize MY Time is money too.

  7. Art Dinkin says:

    You are not alone. My personal pet peeve are the automated phone attendents when you have to input your account number, zip code, navigate a maze of options, and listen to answers to questions you don’t have. Finally when you get a live human being on the phone, they start their list of questions before they even ask why you called! All in the name “of providing service”!!??!!

    How about asking what I need before you waste my time assuming you know?

  8. dong says:

    I mean in the end it always depends how much time or money you have at hand. Unlike money, you can’t store time, and it certainly doesn’t grow by compounding. I would almost always argue that time is more valuable than money. You can always turn time into to money, but not vice versa. This is not to say that I don’t think that someone shouldn’t work hard and long, but it really should be done in way to create more time in the long run for the things you love (and hopefully the things that love you back). I think too many people get too caught up by work, and lose sight of that. Have a long term plan and I think you’re fine.

  9. Brenna says:

    Personally, my time is worth more. I’ve turned down higher paying jobs because I actually want to keep sane and also have a balance with my life. I’ve taken lower pay to have a shorter commute which actually gives me more time to do things that could give me more money in the long run. My goal is to work smarter and not harder.

  10. Super Saver says:


    A good provocative question. As I thought about it, I decided to frame the question a different way.

    For me, it’s only about time. We all have 24 hours day and once it’s gone, we can’t get it back.

    The new question to me is: What do I consider the best use of that time? Making money? With family and friends? Learining? Or Entertainment? Probably different answers for different stages and situations.

  11. Scott says:

    Not even close-TIME.

    The only reason you should be working is so that you can have your investments and wealth support you so you dont have to work and your time is all yours.

    Otherwise, resign yourself to working for others and never having money or time.

    Money comes and goes, is lost and remade. Time never returns and you can not have more of it, motgage it, leverage it or buy more of it. Period.

    A wiseman once said…..cost is only a consideration in the absence of value. Money is only a consideration in the absence of time.

  12. Dustin says:

    I would have to weigh the direct benefits of the time I actually spent at work above normal versus the activity I would be giving up. At this point in my life, I think I am very close to your position though.

    Also, why did you go back to partial posts in your RSS Feed?

    • jim says:

      I just upgraded to the latest version of WordPress… i wasn’t aware that it had gone back to partial posts. Let me look into it… thanks!

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