Time is money … or is money really time?

People say that time is money but in truth, money is time. Money is the human attempt to contain and assign a value to time.


Money: the human attempt to contain and assign a value to time.


We think in terms of how much money an object or service costs, but we really pay for everything we buy with the amount of time it took to earn that amount of money. If you don’t receive a paycheck from an employer for a specific amount (number of hours) of time, for example, if you receive money from family or work on salary, ask yourself how many hours did you actually put in last week or last month or last year? Then ask yourself, how much money did you receive in that same period of time? If you didn’t receive payment only in cash, for example, if you were given a paid vacation, what was the total dollar amount of anything received, including gifts and paid holidays? Then divide that figure by the number of hours you spent providing service to others, whether those others were children, clients, employers, patients, a spouse, teachers, etc. Now, hang on to that amount because we’re about to peel back the next layer of this time=money dynamic.



Because we buy food and shelter to last for all 24 hours of the day, the amount of money you made in the given time period must actually be divided by all the hours you were surviving during that time period. So whether you worked 40 hours last week or 140 hours last week, the total amount of money must be divided by the total number of hours in that
week, which is 168. (7 days x 24 hours = 168.) So whether you received $1,000 in straight cash for working 40 hours or received $1,000 worth of food and shelter and spending money for 140 hours of miscellaneous services provided, you would still divide the total dollar amount by 168. Why? Because we don’t pay rent or mortgage based only on the hours we spend under the roof of that shelter and we don’t pay for food based only on the hours we spend consuming it. Both the food and the shelter sustain us for all 24 hours of the day. To put this in perspective, you would never tell the bank that holds your mortgage or the landlord you send your rent check to, “Hey, I think it would be more fair if I just paid you for the hours I spend in this building.” They might reply, “This isn’t a hotel. You’re paying for the permission to store your belongings here even when you’re not and the ability to provide this address to the Post Office, etc.”



Also, because we are forced to give between six and nine hours back to God each night as sleep (talk about a survival tax!), we couldn’t work all 24 hours a day even if we wanted to. So your hourly wage is not really per hour and your salary pay is literally per annum. Per annum means per year, so be sure to divide the total dollar amount of the value of everything you receive from anyone: If you are in school, include the value of all education that is being paid for by your parents if it’s being paid for by them and/or the dollar amount of any scholarships you are receiving and/or grants from the Government (all of which you are receiving in exchange for the amount of time you spend in class and studying) by the total number of hours in a year: 8,760.


This figure is the true monetary value of one hour of your time.


Neither Time nor Money has value if we do not also value our Autonomy. This is why, as children, we do not usually learn the value of time until we reach an age where we have some influence over where that time will be spent and on whom. Until then, time simply passes; this is why Freedom and the value of Time (and thus Money) are inextricably linked. God deposits 24 hours into everyone’s Time account as midnight. Some people trade 8 of them for cash, some people trade 10, some work all 24 hours, on-call even while they sleep (for example, some parents, especially the primary care-giver). Some choose to live off the grid, choosing a lower quality of life in order to have a higher quantity of time to be autonomous, such as homeless people.



Question: now that you know that time is the real international currency, how many hours per day are yours to spend however you desire? Take today, for example: how many hours did you spend doing what you wanted to do (being autonomous)?”


Time: the real international currency


A very high quality of life is often centered in having enough: enough time left over at the end of the month to spend being autonomous, and enough money to spend on doing awesome things and enjoying awesome people during that number of “free” hours. So rich might be great fun for some people and for others, it might amount to slightly better than slavery because they don’t have any time left over at the end of the day/month/year/lifetime to spend enjoying that money! And the homeless person who answers to no one may value their freedom so much, that having no permanent address feels like a fair price to pay. For most people, the ratio lies somewhere in between and the things that really make free time enjoyable, like our soulmate, good friends, a secure feeling of belonging to our unique niche in the community (like hanging out with other social justice activists or other knitters or other Magic: the gathering players, etc.) are what make life feel good and satisfying.



What would be the ideal ratio of unallocated hours (“free time”) and unallocated funds (“disposable income”) for you? What do you think it might be ten years from today? How about twenty years from day? And now, how about fifty years from today?



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