The Highest Dividend Money Can Pay

On money vs. time affluence.

Credits Morgan Housel

The other day, I was chatting with a friend about money when he said something that struck a chord. “Look, I don’t care about buying a mansion,” he told me, “what I want is time affluence.”

Time affluence means having control over your time. And one way to earn time affluence is to exchange money for it.

As writer Morgan Housel puts it in The Psychology of Money:

The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend money pays.

How much freedom you have in your schedule is a healthier measure of success than how much money you’ve earned. Many people lose themselves in the pursuit of wealth, leaving behind those they cared about. There are far too many tragic stories of parents who took their drive to provide to extremes, ending up neglecting their family. When remembering loved ones who passed away, do you think about their bank accounts or the time they shared with you?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting money is evil or that those striving to increase their earnings are greedy. But I prefer the perspective my friend and Morgan Housel shared: think of money as a means to an end. Earn money so you can buy time.

No one will ever have complete control over their time–see Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks–but that doesn’t mean you cannot carve small pockets of control in your schedules.

A practice of daily and weekly planning, where you look at your calendar as a resource allocation optimization game, will help you discover opportunities to use your time better. Working for an async-first company can also give you more control over your schedule. Finally, outsourcing time-consuming tasks such as cleaning or gardening can create more free time in your week.