High Achievers: 3 Ways to Think About Money and Time As You Progress Through Your Career

They say time is money.

But the truth is money is time. It goes both ways. High performing professionals often forget that.

Thinking about money in terms of time will revolutionize your life.

Below are three unique mental models to use when you think about money as you progress through your career.

Time is the new promotion.

Once you have good salary, take promotions in terms of time instead of money. I heard of a consultant who did this and it blew my mind.

Say your employer offers you a promotion to senior manager and a 15% salary increase. You might say “great — how about you pay me the same and I work 15% fewer hours”. That’s the same unit compensation after all. After several years you could earn a great living working 20–30 hours per week.

When it comes to career — instead of thinking “how can I maximize my earnings” think “what is the least amount of work I can do to earn x” (where x is your cost of living).

Salary equals units of freedom.

Your salary is more than your earning power. It’s your freedom power. You can think of your salary in terms of how much runway it would give you to stop working and do whatever you want.

Say I make $85K. That’s about $5K per month after taxes. Your cost of living is $2,500 per month. That means your salary-freedom multiplier is 2. Every month you work equals 2 months of freedom — 1 year of work equals 2 years of freedom.

(If you’re older you might do this calculation and figure out you’re ready to go part-time or take a mid-life mini-retirement!)

Remember the inter-time exchange rate.

Not all time is created equal. 1 year in your 20s is worth like 4 in your 40s and 8 in your 60s when you think of your ability to enjoy and maximize your time.

When you’re young the happiness opportunity cost of each moment is high. Let’s say you have a month of free time when you’re 20. You have your college friends, parties, interesting classes to explore. You can backpack across Europe or go play rugby. That same month in your 40s probably doesn’t have quite as much to offer (especially if you have kids).

I just turned 24. I can tell you that I’d trade 1 more year of college at the Univ. of Alabama for like 10 years on the backend. As you consider how much you want to work. Keep in mind that the younger you are, the more valuable your time is. Ditto for parents with young kids (they’ll only be young once).

The short story here is if you want to have a happy career don’t try to be a billionaire. Try to be a time billionaire. Protect the most valuable times of your life. Think of salary as units of freedom and time as the new promotion.

Time is money. And money is time!

This post was created with Typeshare



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Jackson Kerchis

Jackson Kerchis

I’m an ex startup CEO and zen monk who created the first Happiness degree. I write and speak about happiness in work and life. 50K+ have read my essays