Most of us are still young, working away long hours at jobs we don’t love, and are told to focus on stocking away as much money as we can for our future. But how often do we really stop to think about what that future holds, and when that future actually takes place? Most of you reading this have a good handle on your personal balance sheet. Your assets: (house, investment accounts, savings accounts), and your liabilities: (mortgage, car loans, credit card bills, utilities). We work and sometimes obsessively focus on these parts of our life, but many of us don’t pay enough attention to the most important asset we have, Time.
Investing should be about more than trying to maximize ROI or to push our net worth to new heights. Investing should be about being able to take control of time. Money can’t buy happiness in the form of physical items, but it can buy happiness by providing you with more time to do what you love.
Having control over your time means different things to different people. The most ambitious seek to retire early, leaving the corporate world behind to focus on what they’d prefer to do in life. Whether that’s traveling, starting a business, or just staying home to raise their children. Having control over your time doesn’t mean you have to retire at 30 or 40. It can be as simple as being able to afford to take your family on a yearly trip to the beach. It can mean freeing up 20-30 hours per week by not having to work a second job.
Instead of saving and saving and hoping that someday you’ll reach a magical amount of money that will bring happiness and wash your problems away. Focus on how much money you need to have the time to do the things you want.
I’ve said many times before that experiences will make you happier than goods. Saving up to take a trip to Brazil will make you happier, and stay with you longer than the good feeling you’ll get from spending that same money on something like a new Rolex.
By focusing on investing with the goal of freedom and financial independence we won’t get caught up in the arms race to have more “stuff” than our neighbors, and we’ll reach all our goals so much faster.
I’d love to be able to “retire” at 40 but I know it’s a long-shot from where I stand now at 31. But even if my focus and commitment to investing means I can retire at 55 instead of 65, that’s still 10 years of my life I was able to take back from “the man”.
The #yolo crowd can have their fun buying fancy clothes, cars and dinners, but when they’re stuck working until they’re 73 they’re going to have major regrets about how they spent their time and how they lived their life when they were young. It’s my goal to shave as many years as possible off of my retirement age by saving, investing and creating alternate income streams. This, along with focusing my spending on experiences, is how I plan to make the most of my most valuable asset: Time.