Time is More Valuable Than Money

We all know, on some level, that our time is precious.  We don’t live forever – and ultimately, death is a certainty.

If I still have you after that “uplifting” opening, let’s explore this topic a little bit!

I have been giving some thought to all the fun things I would like to do, and many of those I’m actually doing.  Or not doing.  To that latter point, I also gave some thought to what my reasons have been for not yet getting to some of the dreams I’ve had.

As I examined this, it began to dawn on me that I might be spending a bit too much time on busywork, errands, or just “getting things done”.  Not sure how you might be, but I’m one of those people that is always having a running “to do” list in my mind, in terms of daily tasks and projects.  I like the feeling of getting things done, and doing things right. It can be anything from buying groceries, fixing something, taking the kids to the library – you name it.

The thing is, there is a cost to much of this.  Let’s say I spend a day on such tasks. Well, let’s remove the library thing, because time with kids is of course precious. But running errands, and doing non-value added tasks, takes up our time.  And time is valuable, no matter how it is used.

Let’s think about our best years. If we make the argument that our healthiest, best years as adults would be from the ages of 20 to 60, that’s 40 years of prime time for us.  Now, I realize some may not like the age 60 cutoff, but let’s go with it for the sake of this exercise.

When you take these 40 years and multiply it by 365 days per year, that’s 14,400 days (we can ignore that leap year technicality).  When you think about it, that’s really not a ton of days.  If you waste a day, you’re wasting a precious few that we’re granted.  The older we get, the more valuable our time ends up being.

Taken another way, if you take those 40 years and multiply that figure by 12 months/year, you’re looking at 480 peak months.  If you waste a month of your life on some job that’s not a fit, or taking your free time and not making the most of it, you’ve lost 1/480 of your prime years of life.  Gone, never to be seen again! The clock is ticking on having all those great, super fun life experiences on your “bucket list”.

My point to all this is that our time is so much more valuable than we might realize.  Further, given that most of my posts are related to money in one way or another, it’s clear that our time is more valuable than money.

We can often make more money, but we can’t make more time.  And actually, when we think about the the relationship between the two, there is a time value of money aspect to consider.  The more time we have, the more we can allow compounding to do its magic and make us more money!

Bottom line: Time is such a valuable asset. Let’s use it wisely, and make the most of it!

My Questions for You

Do you ever think about how precious our time really is?

Having said that, do you ever let this knowledge slip by you periodically, and waste time on things that aren’t truly important?

What are your thoughts on the idea that time is really much more valuable than money?


  1. says

    I try to stop at least once a day and think along these lines. Whether it be looking at my kids and realizing that even tomorrow, they will still be older than they are today, or appreciating the health that so many of us take for granted until we have a hard time walking or something befalls us. This is great advice but ironically, I’d guess that many would use the excuse of not having enough time to really stop and realize what it means.

    • Squirrelers says

      Michael – I do the same thing with my kids, appreciate what they are now and realize that they will be older before I know it. Sometimes we have to live in the present, and value the time we have. Good point, by the way, about how some folks might be “too busy” to even think about this :)

  2. says

    I definitely think time is more valuable than money. I’m starting to do little things such as hiring help on my blog in order to get some of my free time back!

  3. Ornella @Moneylicious says

    I do think about how valuable my time is for investments but most importantly with family and friends that I love. Nothing can replace the times I spend with them.

  4. says

    I’d go even further – time is the most important resource. It might even be the only resource that matters – and all decisions you make should consider the time value you are getting by making certain calls.

    Think about it – you trade money for your time, but you can never ‘buy back’ previous time (and you can go negative with net worth). The closest thing you can do is buy the time of others.

  5. says

    Just ask an older person. I would trade some money for more time. I am guessing I have 30 years left. Hopefully they will be good healthy years. Too bad I can not trade money for time!

    • Squirrelers says

      krantcents – that’s about what we can work toward, extending life a bit and making the quality of it good during those stages. Wouldn’t it be great to trade money for time? That would be incredibly motivating.

  6. says

    I wouldn’t classify myself as old, but I will say this: once I hit 40 I gained a much healthier respect for time (and all the time I blew) than I had prior to that age.

    • Squirrelers says

      Average Joe – I guess it’s like many other things in that when the supply seems unlimited, we don’t appreciate it to its fullest. When it becomes clear that the supply of something is limited, we value it. Economics applied!

  7. says

    Nothing makes you realize how important time is than spending time with people near the end of their lives. It’s important to make the most of our short time on earth.

    • Squirrelers says

      Kay Lynn – fully agree with you! Very wise words, and those experiences with people at that stage can be perspective-altering for the rest of us.

  8. says

    I absolutely value time more than money, which is why I’m saving as much as I possibly can so I can “buy” more time in the form of early retirement.

    Of course, I do still waste a lot of time on things that in the long run really aren’t very important – like video games. :)

  9. says

    You are right – time is more important than money, but don’t discount little moments and errands as wasteful -all important achievements were done by taking small steps – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

    Life IS all these small unimportant things that you do in the present :)

    • Squirrelers says

      Time is important – very important – but you do have a good point that our lives are made up of many little things that may seem unimportant but are necessary too.

  10. says

    Time rocks, but I struggle with the “free time” thing. It seems like the busier I am, the more I actually accomplish. I’m more prone to schedule in things in the nooks and crannies of free time I have vs wasting an afternoon sitting on the couch watching videos or some such thing. My high school teacher said to me once “the busier you are, the more you get done.” I find that if I have too much free time, I’m not as efficient and just beat myself up about being unproductive. I have a hard time balancing the right level of chaos in my life. I get overloaded and then pair down, then get unproductive, then ramp up again. If I throw money at a project that I normally spend time on (like home improvement), it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll replace that time 1 for 1 with fun/enriching stuff. I seem to need to do a certain amount of brainless work, thinking work, and fun. If I got rid of one altogether, things would feel wrong and I’d have to offset it with some other kind of similar activity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *