Wealth Is Discretionary Time

I recently decided to purchase a boat and a slip for easy access all summer long. Now I am sure you have all heard the phrase “better to know somebody with a boat than own one yourself” or “Boat, you know what that stands for, Bust Out Another Thousand”. Despite what everyone said I went forward with it anyways, as I usually do. Unfortunately, these tales have proved to be somewhat true, nothing major but one hundred dollars 10-20 times quickly adds up to thousands invested.

I am telling you this not to brag but to use it as an example for one of life’s greatest dichotomies. Let me outline the issue here using two quick contrasting statements:

  • Having a boat is great but having a boat is expensive.
  • I need time to use my boat but I have to work more hours to afford my boat.

You see, the two statements above perfectly illustrate the dichotomy between time and money. On the one hand the idea of having a boat appears incredible but the reality is that it costs a lot of money to maintain. Furthermore, in concept the next warm day may seem like a great boat day, but in practice you are stuck in the office working.

After reading hundreds of self help, business solution, and influential biography books, I have come to the realization that wealth is in fact discretionary time. If you were to go back to my 15 year old self and tell me that I would give up a half million dollar salary for a 4 day work week, I would have told you that you were crazy.

I talked about goals in a recent blog post and this is truly where it needs to start. When you are beginning with the end in mind, what exactly does the middle look like? Is it really worth earning a million dollars a year even though you have no time to spend it? Or is it better to earn 100k and be able to attend your child’s mid afternoon baseball game or have an 11am tee time?

Those questions are for you to decide and ultimately it is your life but I will urge you to consider the statement “Wealth is Discretionary time”. Better to be able to go to the beach, for free, on a Wednesday afternoon than have to leave your $50k boat docked on its slip all summer because you never had time to use it. 

We can always make more money but time, time is something that is finite. We have what we have, be sure to cherish it.