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Ponder Points

A Ponder Point is a significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument or suggestion that needs to be weighed in the mind with thoroughness and care.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Time Is Money!

We have all heard the old saying that "Time is money". After giving it some thought I have began to realize that when it comes right down to it, time is really the only valid currency we have to exchange with each other. Bear with me a moment and I will try to explain my concept. Take a dollar bill out of your pocket and put it beside a piece of notebook paper. What is the difference really? Sure one is a pretty green with a picture of a dead person on one side and a building on the other but is that what makes it worth more? Of course not. The answer we get in school is that the dollar bill represents a dollar's worth of goods or services. Lets take that idea a bit further. I contend that the dollar bill represents a chunk of time. This concept is easy to understand if we are talking about a dollars worth of service from a plumber or lawyer. But what about something tangible such as a car. Well lets think about it for a minute. That car is made up of steel, plastic, rubber and glass. The steel is made of iron ore and other metals that have been mined, smelted, cast and shaped into a car. The iron and other metals are free from the earth. So what we are paying for is the time it took someone to locate, mine, smelt and shape the metal into the shape of the car. But what about the plastic components of the automobile you ask? Plastic is made from crude oil that, like metals, is in the earth and free for the taking. What we pay for is the cost of the time it took to find the oil, drill, haul, refine and ultimately create the plastic part for our car. The same goes for any other parts in our car or anything else we purchase. What we are paying for when we buy something is not the raw components that make up an item, but the time entailed in the creation of that item.

Now that we have that concept firmly in our mind lets go a step further. We all have a finite amount of time allotted to us in this life. It is different for each of us of course depending on a lot of variables such as genetics, lifestyle, environment and luck. But for arguements sake lets say each of us has 70 years or 613,200 hours in our lifetime savings account. That comes out to 613,200 hours. Unfortunately in our lifetime savings account, we don't draw interest so that is all we have. Of course about a third of this account will be used up in sleep. We can use the rest in any way we want. Now each hour of that time has a value. Each of us spends at least part of our time each day working to bring in money. The monetary value of an hour of my time will be different from the monetary value of an hour of the next persons time. For arguements sake lets say our time is worth $20 dollars an hour in the market place. That is what we actually bring home for an hour of work after all the deductions. Now lets go purchase that car we talked about earlier. We will buy a cheap car for say $20,000. Hard to imagine that this is the price of a cheap car but that is the reality of the times we live in. So out of our lifetime account that car will cost us 1000 hours of our life not counting the interest, insurance, etc. The point is that when we purchase something, we are not handing over pieces of pretty paper, but chunks of our life that we will never get back. This is necessary in order to obtain what we need to live. The question we have to ask ourselves when we purcase something is whether or not that item is worth the portion of our life that we are going to have to give up to obtain it. That is the real cost of an item.

So that is my arguement that the only currency we actually have is time. How are you investing your currency? After all, "time is money"!