The Money vs Time Trade-Off

What would you rather have – more time or more money? Many people would say the latter. But the happier ones generally say the former. In a recent article, writer and Forbes Business Insider contributor, Thomas Oppong, discusses a recent academic study which found that people who value time more than money tend to be happier and more productive.

The following is an extract from Thomas Oppong’s article.

Money is deeply rooted in how we’ve evolved. It continues to produce powerful effects on our behaviour. We spend a great deal of time thinking about money. We talk about it, worry over it, stress over it, and wonder if we have enough to meet our immediate needs now and in the future.

Most of us never seem to have enough, and we’re spending a good chunk of it earning money. But according to a paper co-authored by research analysts at the Universities of California and Pennsylvania, people who value time more than money are happier and more productive in life.

Prioritising time is associated with greater happiness.

The scientists ran several studies, both online and in-person. Over 4,000 people were asked the same question: What would you rather have, more time or more money?

You guessed right. Most people were practical: Around 64 percent surveyed answered “more money.”

But the people who said they’d prefer more time were generally happier. But the research goes beyond that. “What matters is the value people place on each resource,” the authors said. “Beyond the amount of these resources people have, happiness is linked to the resource people want.”

The study further revealed something else about the participants. People who tended to choose more time also tended to be:

  • Older, which suggests perhaps as we age we get more satisfaction from valuing our time over money
  • Parents, which suggests children can change our values on the time-money question
  • Married
  • Wealthier (but when the analysis controlled for this, the correlation between choosing time and happiness remained)

The study suggests that if you want to become a happier person — and you already make enough money to provide the essentials — you should start placing more value on time.

It’s also important to note that for some people, prioritising money over time is a necessity, not a choice, because they otherwise could not afford the essentials, even if they might prefer to prioritise time if they had a choice.

Plan your future time, today

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” — Henry David Thoreau

The findings suggest your attitude regarding TIME and MONEY  has a lot to do with your overall happiness and level of productivity in life.

It doesn’t really matter which of the two things a person has more of — instead, it’s all about a person’s mentality toward the two.

Even though money — or the lack thereof — is often cited as one of the most stress-inducing aspects of life, people who value their time more than their money are more likely be happier despite the amount of money they have.

Think about it: Money can come and go, but time only goes, and doesn’t come back. Once lost, it’s gone.

As Ashley Williams wrote last year in a Harvard Business Review article on this subject : “No matter what the outcome of our efforts, we all feel increasingly strapped for time, and often the things that we think will make us happy — the accomplishments we work so hard for — don’t. They most certainly do not give us back moments with our families and friends or more hours to ourselves.”

So how much is your time is worth?

What price would you put on an experience that broadens the mind, or brings you inner peace? There are two kinds of people: those with time-first mindset and those with money-first mindset. Many people fall in the second category.

It’s more difficult to shift to a time-first mindset if you have valued money more than time for a very long time. Shifting to a time-first mindset is really hard, especially when everything in your life depends on that income you make every month.

If you don’t know much your time is worth, it won’t even cross your mind to value time more than money. How you use your time might be slightly more in your control than how much money you earn.

With more time, you can plan to use it better. How you value time is absolutely in your control.

Assuming basic needs are met, more money will give you just that — more money. Research shows that once people make more than enough to meet their basic needs, additional money does not reliably promote greater happiness. Yet over and over, our choices do not reflect this reality.

More time, on the other hand, could lead to all kinds of amazing experiences and shifts that might mean more to you than money ever could.

Calibre’s final thoughts and conclusion

As this study suggests, if you want to become a happier person — and you already make enough money to provide the essentials — you should start placing more value on time.

Money helps you strive to live your life, but it’s Time that gives you the greatest benefit.

You can always make more money, but you can never make more time.

There are many pivotal reasons why successful professionals and business owners might  choose to engage a values-based advice firm like Calibre Private Wealth Advisers to help manage their personal financial affairs. One prominent reason that resonates with many is the ability to help free up more valuable time to focus on the things in their life that are more important than money.

Time, not money, is your greatest investment. 

Next steps

To find out more about how any of these measures may be of assistance in your individual circumstances, please contact Gordon Thoms or David Conte at Calibre Private Wealth Advisers on ph. (03) 9824 2777 or email us here.

This advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial and tax/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Before acquiring a financial product a person should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product and consider the contents of the PDS before making a decision about whether to acquire the product. The material contained in this document is based on information received in good faith from sources within the market, and on our understanding of legislation and Government press releases at the date of publication, which are believed to be reliable and accurate. Opinions constitute our judgment at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the Oreana Group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Gordon Thoms and David Conte of Calibre Private Wealth Advisers are Authorised Representatives of Oreana Financial Services Limited ABN 91 607 515 122, an Australian Financial Services Licensee, Registered office at Level 7, 484 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004. This site is designed for Australian residents only. Nothing on this website is an offer or a solicitation of an offer to acquire any products or services, by any person or entity outside of Australia.

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