Time or money – is wealth or life important?

In the movie Wall Street 2 – money never sleeps Gordon Gecko tells how when he was young he believed that money was the most important thing. With a lifetime of experience, he regrets to say, he now knows there is something more important. That is time. Time is the only real thing of value. I could not agree more.

time money lifestyle choice
Can anyone argue with this? Lifestyle for money trade-off?

I work at home and get to be with my family 100% of the time day and night. I think few folks have that luxury. I am not as rich as I could be or as I want to be. However, I do have time with my family. I have time to live my life.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. – Henry David Thoreau

In my opinion, the best life is to have the time to do the things you love. I am not the richest guy in the world but I do not need a job. I stopped working at about age 40. How did I get this way?

Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Income, wealth and time

  • I worked hard for a long timeWorking long hours for someone else is often necessary but not optimal. I made good money but not enough to set me free. I sacrificed a lot of time for a modest amount of money. I realized careers are good, but the long path to success. Corporate America sucks.
  • I invested in a clever way and learned how to invest – Learning to invest was one of the best investments of my time I made. That is, I learned how to make money in the stock market – I gave up little time to learn. I read books and tested my own systems. I pretty much avoided the last stock market crash. With my investment returns, I built a war-chest to allow me the time to figure out the next strategy in my life. It is also fun.
  • I took the time to think out conceptually what is going on in the world of money and how individuals earned wealth. –  Why the rich have money and time. Workers can get paid by one of four ways:
  1. Selling intellectual goods.
  2. Performing Intellectual services
  3. Selling physical good
  4. Performing Physical services

Determine where you are in the pyramid and how you can move to a higher point where time and money are more efficient and pleasurable.

Why do I not just spend my time investing in the stock market?

I do well in the stock market and at this point can say with confidence that I have a system, even with some leverage, I feel pretty confident about. Even in down markets, I feel pretty good about my system. However, I am still learning and I do not know everything. I use this blog to think out loud about a lot of my trading strategies.

That being said, and the fact I really enjoy money and markets, it is not the maximum leverage of my time and money. Although it is very efficient, it is still indirect ownership. If I dedicate my time, intellectual resources and capital to my entrepreneurial activities I think this is more efficient.  I have direct control over the day-to-day operations. It is more an extension of my hobbies rather than a tool to make green stuff.

Spending time
Money can not buy time. Cash means nothing, guide the next generation not to trade our temporal existence for something base like working for your boss’ bonus. My daughter and I in the park in Krakow on a weekday, yes a weekday.

Time may be relative –  but money definitely is

I am an American and EU citizen.  Although I am a New Englander, I live in Krakow, Poland now. I have heard so many Americans complain during the economic crisis about how hard it is.  They can not stop their careers and are afraid of losing their jobs. Haha. I am sorry I do not believe it. Why? I live in Poland, a post-communist country.

If you are unemployed in America even with a mountain of debt you are most likely richer than the average guy in Poland was a few years ago. Eastern Europe was poor. Not like Americans with  TVs and cars who are complaining.  In Eastern Europe you could not buy food in the shops and no heat in the winter, no paper goods and no running water, and two families living in a two-room 300 square foot apartment just 15 years ago, with no hope of government help.  When I moved here there was over 20% unemployment. Now families live on average about 1,500 dollars a month so it is much better. Money is really a relative thing. The poor person today lives like a king of old. If you are complaining or living in economic fear in the USA, you are a  spoiled American. I am an American and a patriot but I am not a materialist. Wealth is a very relative thing, if you live in the good old USA appreciate what you have, it is a great country in terms of prosperity, even during a crisis.

If you do not believe me watch the movie Wall Street 2 and you will see that people with economic power are so afraid of losing it.

American society is very conscious of money and status but discounts the value of time

Again, I am not criticizing America because I am very proud to be American born and raised, but golly gee we are surely conscious of our neighbor’s wealth. We compare and judge people often on everything. Maybe all cultures do this, but I do not feel it in Europe.  There is so much judgment based on social status.

Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly color. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”
– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Stop comparing yourself to others and start spending your time in a smart way.

When I was working at a big four accounting firm, working nights and weekends for the client’s ridiculous demands were something respected. It was the way you moved up the ranks. Americans love workers who sacrifice their personal time for the greater good of the company.

I have a better message. Yes work, but work smart so you have more time. Work and plan out your strategy to make money very intelligently. Even if you take one step backward in the rat race, it is better you are studying how to make money than just hoping a paycheck will do it for you.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. – Henry David Thoreau

One point I try to convey to on this blog, is most people are not consciously examining how to make money.  They spend too much time competing with others and keeping pace with others to have the time to decompress from the stress and live an examined live. They want to make money.  They ask how to make 10,000 dollars fast but they do not examine the abstract process of what is going on. If you can do this, you will have all the time in the world or at least more than you have now.

However, in the end, and as a believer in God and someone who wants to spend my time with my family. I also believe Jesus never said blessed are the hardworking or blessed are the rich. Money is not my God. Anything we have here is on loan from us from above including time.

The question about what is more important time or money is obvious for those who think about it. Time is more important than financial capital of course. You can use your time to generate wealth, but just do so in an efficient method and only if it is fun for you and adds to the greater good of your family’s life.

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