The Time-Money-Freedom Paradox
Think about it. What is keeping you from achieving your dreams? From living a life that is totally yours, a life that gives you the freedom to do whatever you want? To most of us, our ideal life seems out of reach, like it’s meant to just stay a dream for the rest of our lives. What is holding us back? When we sit down and really dissect what is keeping us from being our ideal-selves, and from ultimate freedom, it’s that we don’t have the TIME or don’t have the MONEY.
Maybe you’re constantly adding to your neverending bucket list of places you want to see and experiences. But for many, free time and limited money keep them from seeing the world and living the life of their dreams.
We all have the same amount of time, we all get 24 hours in a day. We are the sole decision makers about how to use that time. It’s true that we have responsibilities and obligations, but those are imposed on us by ourselves or others. When you look at it objectively, time is a resource we all have, and no one has any more or less than anyone else.
This relationship is often paradoxical in the western world: Most of us use our time to make money. We exchange our time for dollars, and in doing so, we are limiting how much free-time we have, in favor of money. Time becomes money…. and usually not enough.
Because time and money are both necessary to live the life of our dreams, trading dollars for hours is self-limiting. If you have big goals – ones that require lots of free time and adequate funds – you will never achieve them if you exchange your time for money: you will never have enough time or money because they are interchangeable in this model. You are limited to how much money you can make simply because you are limited by how many hours there are in a day.
However, there are things you can change in your daily life that could help you fund your travel and create space in your life for more freedom and adventures. Here are a few ways you can overcome the time/money paradox, starting right now.
If Time = Money, then Money = Time. Therefore, you can BUY TIME.
Once I realized I was my precious time for dollars, I realized I could also BUY TIME, and freedom using the money I was earning. By turning this limiting system around, and reframing my money mindset, I was able to define a new relationship with money: it became a relationship with time, instead. I saved exactly half of my paycheck for over five years knowing that every day I worked was equal to a day of freedom in the future. When you realize that money = time and time = money, you can manage both in a way that aligns with your goals. You can use the money you’re making, or the money you have to support you during periods of free time. When you aren’t tied to work, or relying on trading hours for dollars, your hours are yours to spend as you please.
This also means that you can buy your free time, by outsourcing time to others. The time it takes you to do any task has a dollar-value associated with it. Grocery shopping? You can pay someone to shop and deliver it right to you. Writing blog posts? You can outsource that too. Any task that you do not want to do can be outsourced for a price. By understanding this, you realize you only need more money to free up more time. Your dollars can buy someone else’s hours, keeping your hours available. Money is truly the only limiting recourse in the equation.
While this system still relies on trading time for dollars, it helps you understand the relationship of time and money in a deeper way so you can use it to your advantage.
Since money is the only limiting resource in the equation, we’ll take a deeper look at how to increase money without trading your time for money. Money without time is useless unless you use it to buy free time.
If Time = Money, and Money = Things. Therefore Time = Things.
Here’s another equation the western world hasn’t quite seemed to internalize. Some you can trade money for things, this means you are trading time for things.
Think about how many things you have in your house or apartment. Many of us have too many things, many more than we need. Often, the debt we get into while paying for things you want and need, which can damage your credit score if you aren’t able to keep up with payments (read more about the benefits of repairing your credit rating)
We all hoard things we no longer want or need. Clothes that don’t fit, gadgets that have since been upgraded, but while we don’t need them it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t pay to have them in their life. Consignment shops and websites like eBay are a great way to get rid of your unwanted things and boost your income over the next few days and weeks. You could also use LetGo, Craigslist, or local selling sites and Facebook to sell unwanted things. Think about all the things in your house that you don’t want or need. Once you realize you can trade them for money, which can then be traded for time, it’s a very freeing feeling.
By realizing things = money, and money = time, it becomes easier to resist impulse purchases. Every cent you spend has a time-cost associated with it. By saving you money and buying experiences, instead of things, you will end up much richer for it. For tips on how to save more money for expedites and resist the very human urge to purchase and hoard, read up on my unique money-saving method here.
Escaping the Time-Money-Freedom Paradox: Time ≠ Money
Because of these truths, it becomes easy to remain trapped and repressed by the time-money-freedom paradox. You are trapped in a cycle that robs all three from your life. To make things worse, western society has framed this paradox as a societal norm, conditioning us all to believe that we can only make money by exchanging our time for it, and them using that hard earned money to buy things. This freedom-robbing cycle is self-perpetuating, and leads to a freedom-drought.
To escape it, it’s critical to find ways to make money without trading your time for it. Money can sustain you while you exist in your free time, and also lets you outsource time-intensive responsibilities. By creating money without trading time, you aren’t bound by the confines of trading time for money, because you aren’t trading anymore, and so there are fewer limits on how much money you can make. From that extra money, you can then buy more free time by outsourcing time-intensive tasks like grocery shopping or maintaining your business.
By (1) realizing you can harness the positive aspects of this cycle, and (2) also breaking the cycle by dissociating time from money, you are then free to create your ideal reality because you will have an abundance of both time and money.
It might sound far-fetched, but there are many ways to dissociate time from money. Generally, you will need to invest time or money up-front, and after that you are free to reap the rewards, without a limit on how much you can make from your investment.
- Write a book and sell it
- Buy investment property and rent it out
- Create an ecourse and sell it on Udemy or Teachable
- Sell digital products, like printables or templates
- Source products cheaply and mark them up to sell on Amazon or eBay.
Customers are paying for the result of your work – the product – not the work itself. Your product gives a result or value for your customers, which is independent from your time. Because in these models customers only care about the results, the value, or the product, and not the actual work that went into it, you are free to collect passive income from something you created/sourced and are selling at a profit.
You can then use that income to outsource the business management, the creation of new products, or create more value for your customers, thus giving yourself more free time while increasing the value of your product and increasing your income. As I mentioned, there is no limit on this income because you are not trading time for dollars, so income is no longer a function of your available time. You are left with lots of income and lots of free time — and therefore, freedom.
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Christel Trulson · February 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm
I love this. Gives me a new perspective and in will have to think on how to change my mindset.
Michelle · February 15, 2018 at 7:05 pm
Loved this! You perfectly explained everything. It’s something I’ve been working on lately – to creative passive income. It’s so easy to do in today’s digital era. It just takes a lot of hard work!
riseandbrine · February 16, 2018 at 11:39 am
YES.. LOTS of hard work 🙂 But so worth it!
Nikki · February 15, 2018 at 10:40 pm
As someone who is inherently frugal and a complete control freak, I have been trying to learn the value of outsourcing different tasks. It is so important! By doing that I will give myself the ability to work on creating passive income, which will afford me the freedom to use my time however I want in the future.
Suewan · February 16, 2018 at 12:08 am
This is so true! Definitely one of the reasons we left the 9-5 life behind. More people need to understand that there is another way.
riseandbrine · February 16, 2018 at 11:38 am
What kind of business have you been running since leaving the 9-5 world?
Kendall · February 16, 2018 at 11:29 am
Love this thinking and how in depth you got! It’s sad how our society pitches this as our norm and it really is time to break the cycle!
riseandbrine · February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am
It’s crazy to think that job-search sites only cater to this “norm” … all the jobs posted on indeed, monster, glassdoor, linked in, etc. require you to exchange time for dollars! It seems the only way to break that cycle is to make your own way.
Lori | Choosing Wisdom · February 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm
It’s a powerful concept to realize! When we can learn to align our priorities with what matters most it opens a whole new world of possibilities and purpose.
Oscar Martinek · March 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm
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