We talk about savings rates all the time because they’re a good measure of how long it will take to get to retirement. But no one ever really talks about the percentage of hours you spend each week doing productive things, growing your productivity, or the time you spend recharging. Ie, your “savings rate” in terms of time. After all, we’re all striving to “buy” time, right? It’s why we’re all trying to reach retirement and financial independence so much earlier.
Each week, you have 112 hours to spend on anything you want. There are 168 hours in a week, but sleep is a fixed “expense” as you need 56 hours of it. Your highest “salary” possible is thus 112 hours.
- Savings = the amount of hours you’re spending working to get actual dollars
- Investable assets = the hours you spend on personal growth and learning. Building better habits, eating healthier and exercising, and learning a new skill such as programming or public speaking are all things that are in the realm of personal growth and learning. While some new skills might increase your monetary value, others will better your mind, body, and relationships.
- Recharging = “expenses” that allow you to have a clear frame of mind. A massage, the spa, daily meditation, bath time, or even watching some TV to zone out.
- Increasing your salary = Increasing the amount of time that you have. Treat your time as a budget that needs to be managed.
Want to increase your “savings”?
- Stop marathoning TV shows with your Hulu and Netflix subscriptions.
- Stop endlessly surfing Reddit and Youtube (definitely a favorite of mine)
- Stop partying, it’ll save you money and time (Thirsty Thursday? Going out on Saturday night?)
- Hanging out with friends all the time but not really doing anything productive? Cut back a few hours.
- Consider cutting down your transport time if it’s not productive.
- Meal prep your food so that you’re not making it from scratch each time.
- Get healthy and fit, so you have to spend less hours at the gym once you are maintaining your body.
Want to increase the rate of return on your “investable assets”?
- Learn the basics of whatever subject you’re focused on. The Pareto principle says you spend 20 percent of your time learning 80 percent of the material. Not a bad ratio.
- Learn the advanced techniques of a skill. Start a freelancing business. You’ll be paid more than if you were in a corporation if it’s a marketable and useful skill. Plus the tax and retirement benefits.
- Find good skills with potential for growth in the current market — programming, Excel spreadsheets, marketing — ie, the ability to sell things, graphic design, etc. The world is full of things to learn. Pick something and just go do it.
- Growing your side hustle into something larger. If you have a skill, try to build a consulting business around it. Every year you’ll get to charge more. Build a course for those who want to DIY their expertise.
Want to increase your “spending”?
- Figure out how to delegate or outsource your tasks to other people. If your hourly is $X, then you should start outsourcing if it’s so much cheaper for someone else to do it. If cleaning is $15 an hour, but your hourly is $100, then find someone to clean and spend that hour trying to garner more business for yourself. There are startups like Alfred (does shipping, handles sending laundry out, grocery shopping, sewing buttons, etc), Handy who do cleaning services, Taskrabbit (moving, handyman work, cleaning, etc).
- If you have a partner, split up the tasks by whomever is more efficient at doing them, with an equal amount of time spent by both.
Random things I’ve bought over the last few years to streamline my time:
- A robot vacuum to save time on vacuuming, especially if you’re allergic to dust. It can make all the difference.
- A crock pot so you can cook your entire week’s worth of meals in one sitting.
- A fuzzy logic rice cooker that keeps your rice warm and fluffy (I’m Asian and eat rice for most meals). Get a cheaper version here.
- A cold brew glass container so you don’t have to make coffee every day.
- A Keurig for when I want to sample new coffee.
Treat your time as something that can be reinvested and used more productively. What percentage of your week is in savings, investable assets, spending, and expenses?
Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.
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