Time: your most valuable asset

November 22, 2020 by The Darwinian Doctor

Editor’s note: Today’s Post is from our PhREI Network founder, Daniel Shin MD, at The Darwinian Doctor.

This post really hits me hard. During this period of my own “midlife crisis” I can’t help but wonder if I am “wasting” my Time on extra-curricular activities and investments. The reality is that every year we age the faster time flies. When you were 10 years old a year was 1/10th of your life. At 40, a year is 1/40th of your life… A year just doesn’t feel as long anymore. Then add in all the various responsibilities… practicing medicine, caring for children, devotion to family and then investing…. Oh man, the days are full and the years go fast.

Before you know it, you are already 6 months into 2021… That is one reason why I cut back on Fridays (Why Working Less is Worth Every Penny). My daughters are 8 and 9 and I want to enjoy the next few years before they reach the age that they don’t want to hang out with Dad… So right now we invest our time and finances on family time… We spend our Winter weekends snowboarding and our Summer weekends camping… Dan has it right in this post that Time is our most valuable asset. How are you handling your most valuable asset? Check out the post, it is great… and Dan I have a confession. I really thought “In Time” was a cool movie…

Today, we talk about your most valuable asset, time.  Your allotment is decreasing every day, so use it with purpose and intention. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Time is your most valuable asset.  As soon as you’re born, the countdown starts.  No one can tell you how much time you’ve got left, but it’s a finite number.

I’ve been very conscious of the preciousness of time as I’ve gone through my mid-life crisis.  I increasingly feel like I have less and less time to spare.  Between my new administrative duties at work, my real estate investing, blogging, and family duties, I often feel so starved for time that it’s maddening.  Time spent in one activity inevitably seems to shortchange another competing activity or responsibility.  

“In Time”

Movie poster. Copyright: 20th Century Fox

The 2011 movie, “In Time” took this concept of time as an asset to an extreme.  Actors Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried run through a dystopian future with their lives literally ticking away on their wrists.  Time is so precious that it’s used as currency, traded for everything from a haircut to a new car.  When the counter drops to zero, it’s game over.  

In the movie, the rich folk move around gracefully and slowly, secure in the knowledge that they have time to spare.  The poor folk scurry around, always running and hustling to score a few more minutes of life.  

Although the critics were largely unimpressed with this movie, I found the foundational concept of time as an asset truly fascinating.  

Time is an asset with relative value

Time is a strange asset, though.  Its value fluctuates depending on your age, and even depending on your day.  Just when you want to start savoring it, it seems to slip away.

Do you remember the endless summers in grade school, when those hot days and nights seemed to last forever?  On the east coast where I grew up, my summer break seemed like one idyllic, never-ending mix of sweaty games of tag, cut grass, bikes, books, and adventures with friends. 

Now, I blink twice and my child is a year older.  I turn away for a moment, and summer turns to fall. If I stop to catch my breath, it’s suddenly New Year’s again.  

My time grows more valuable with each passing moment.  But the busier I am at work and at home, the faster my weeks seem to fly by. 

I trade my time for money

As an employed surgeon, I’m essentially an hourly worker.  Since I provide a specialized service, I do get paid well for my time.  But if I decide one day that I’d rather spend my time going to the beach, I won’t get paid (and I’ll probably get fired).

I signed my employment contract willingly, but when I think back to my mindset when I graduated from residency, I didn’t know there was any other way.  I was $300,000 in debt and had no marketable skills other than doctoring.   

Now just a few years after my realization that I could become financially independent, most of my investment activities are geared to creating passive income instead of active income.  

With enough passive income, I hope to break free from the obligation of my work-week, and instead be more intentional on the time I devote to my job.  

How to value your time

So you might be wondering how to treat your time with the respect it deserves.  I struggle with this every single week.  I don’t have it all worked out yet, but for me, a few realizations have been important:

  1. Time is an asset that increases in value as you age.
  2. Any job that pays you an hourly wage likely undervalues your time
  3. Spend your extra time working to free yourself from activities you don’t enjoy

Conclusion

In summary, time is your most valuable asset.  How valuable?  You won’t ever really know, because you don’t know how much of it you’ve got left. 

I trade my time for money and I’m paid well.  But as my net worth increases, I increasingly feel the desire to cut out the parts of my life I don’t enjoy.  

So I’m trying to use my time and money to lay the groundwork for businesses that will generate passive income. 

This blog is a business that has so far taken up an incredible amount of time for not much income.  But I really enjoy writing, and I think one day the time to income ratio will change.  

The main way I’m hoping to regain control over my time is via real estate investing.  It’s going well, but we’re certainly having growing pains.  You can read the latest on this here:

If you’re reading this post and feeling despondent over the way you’re spending your precious time, stop it!  Channel that emotion and instead think about what you can do to start changing your situation. 

Think critically about your week.  Analyze your spending.  Develop a financial plan.  And start living life intentionally.

— TDD

How are you going to regain control over time, your most valuable asset?  Comment below and subscribe for more!

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