Is Your Time Worth What You Think It Is?

Thinking about how much your time is worth goes a little deeper than thinking about how much you are worth. It also entails thinking about how much your memories are worth and whether the new memories you could create in that time are worth what you would pay to have the time.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we value our time. For instance, say you are considering hiring someone to help you with a project. The work is something you know how to do well, and are interested in and willing to do.

How much would it be worth to you to have someone else do the job?

Most people would say something like, “I make $30 an hour, so if it saves me an hour of time it would be worth $30. I’m not going to pay more than that, because I can do it in an hour myself.”

That’s one way to approach the problem, but of course it’s only one way.

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Someone else might think, “Gee. It would buy me an hour of time that I wouldn’t have to do this job. It would give me time to spend with my family, go to a movie, take a nap, or whatever.” To me, buying that service would be worth $50 because time is not just worth what I make in an hour.”

I really think this last approach is the more reasonable one.

When we only value our time at what we get paid in an hour, we shortchange ourselves. Sure, our time is worth at least what we can make at our job in that hour. But time has a value far beyond the monetary value.

It really depends on what you want to be doing with that time. If you’d rather do the project yourself and have the money to spend in another way, then you should probably not hire someone to do the job.

But if you’d rather have the time, then that period of minutes or hours may be worth more to you than just your hourly rate.

Einstein determined a long time ago that time is relative. I think the worth of time is just as relative.

If time flies when we’re having fun and drags when we’re having a horrible time, isn’t our time worth more when paying someone would allow us to do something we really love and want to do?

I guess I just have an inherent problem with the idea that time is only worth money. Have you ever been asked the hypothetical question: What if you could have the experience of your life, but never remember it? I don’t know many people who would say yes, because memories are what we treasure about an event.

And how do we get our memories? By spending the time creating the memory.

So when you’re deciding how much your time is worth, also think about how much your memories are worth and whether the new memories you could create in that time are worth what you would pay to have the time.

Thanks to Bootstrapper for including this post in the Carnival of Business and Entrepreneurship, to Everything Finance for featuring this post in the Carnival of Everything Finance, to The Skilled Investor for inclusion in the Carnival of Financial Planning, to Money Clipped for including this in the Carnival of Everything Finance, to Money Clipped for featuring this post in the favorites, and to Money and Values for inclusion in the Carnival of Ethics, Values, and Personal Finance.

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