Saturday, April 4, 2009

Money is TIME... not just the other way around

I marvel at the leisure some people seem to enjoy in life; either by design or pure luck they end up in the privileged position to be able to lead the life of Riley.[1] This, I guess, is a strange form of envy, for I can honestly marvel without being the slightest bit resentful. Time, it seems, is on these persons’ side.

The Victorian novelist, George Robert Gissing was famed to say, “Time is money says the proverb, but turn it around and you get a precious truth. Money is time.”[2]

Time comes first; it drives everything else in life, and not the other way around. Money, however, affords us time to do the things we’d do if we have the choice i.e. if we have the money. For instance, if we had sufficient money so we needed only to work three days a week, what sort of difference would that make for the creative person or the budding entrepreneur? What extra quality of life might that provide toward the achieving the ends of peace and quiet enjoyment?

Time is money in that we must be productive enough in our working lives to ‘purchase’ a lifestyle we’ve personally defined as required, based almost certainly and solely on our experience.

If our lifestyles dictate we need a high level of material affluence, we’ll be working long and hard into our retirement years, many of us. If, on the other hand, we can manage to get away with a simpler lifestyle and less mod-cons, we don’t have to work as hard or as many hours. Then there’s the role many of us take in being a steward of money for others i.e. the poor. The simpler we can live, the more stewarding we can do.

Many people have employed the principle of ‘money is time,’ and have tried to fast track their lives in recent times; taken fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) jobs for the flash house, cars, boats and caravans (not to mention the expensive lifestyles).

Some, wisely, have been disciplined, and the FIFO lifestyle has been a way of purchasing a lifestyle in advance--a lifestyle that will last for many years or even nearly a lifetime in a few cases. With money they’ve effectively bought time.

For the FIFOer’s who’ve not been as disciplined or as successful, there is often a litany of familial problems and even debts as a result. The FIFO venture proved to be an utter waste of time (apart from being a bitter learning experience); not only in the investment of time away from family, but also in the way life played itself out... to a point, I, personally, can identify directly with this. The ramifications go on often for a long time. In this way, money is definitely time. And we continue to lose. The effects are lasting.

This brings us to the matter of re-work. This is wasted time, leading almost always from or to a waste of our money. I know that whenever I’ve dieted and lost my required kilograms, only to slowly put them back on again, I’ve discovered the cost later on--more time in losing those same kilograms all over again! And this principle works in all facets and with all commodities in life.

It may be absurd to say it, but money affords us time. We can’t extend our years. This is not what I’m saying. But, money can make the time we have more effective and efficient, effectively equalling enjoyment.[3]

Often times the tortoise wins the race of life well ahead of the hare. A slow start doesn’t always mean a terrible finish. In fact, the longer we go in life, the more most of us realise it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Ask the once high-flying 20-30 year old who crashed and burned at 40, 44 or 47! That 30 year old who hadn’t even started, cruises past this wreck some fifteen years hence! Don’t laugh... this actually happens.

BUT... we can...
Kick back i.e. slow down.
Be disciplined in working the plan.
Simplify life.
Delay gratification.
Use time and money wisely.
Avoid re-work, trying to foresee it, and doing it right first time.
Maintain relationships (for this is where a lot of re-work ends up coming from).
Persevere, and persevere knowing that things will turn out well eventually when we’re trying to live wisely.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] See
[2] Daniel Kehoe, You Lead, They’ll Follow: How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really. Vol. II (Sydney, Australia: McGraw-Hill, 2004), p. 115.
[3] For an interesting analysis, see

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