Should your life have monetary value?

Time is money. That’s what we’re told from an incredibly early age. In some ways, it’s sound advice: I interpret it as that you shouldn’t waste your time doing things that won’t bring you value. However, is it right that we’re encouraged to focus on money all the time? Does that mindset truly bring value to our lives?

Yes, no, and maybe: that’s the answer to whether your life should have monetary value.

Time IS money

On the one hand, our lives are relatively short. While the average lifespan has increased since the industrial revolution, (I often shock my year 8s by informing them that many people lived to the ripe old age of 16), an average of 81 years still doesn’t feel like a lot, when you consider all of the things that you could get done in the world. You may wish to see every city in every country in every continent. You may wish to start a business or two, or have a large family, or maybe even focus on your career until it’s time to retire.

The trouble with life is that we don’t really have time for everything. It’s not realistic to expect to be able to follow every single one of your dreams, despite the fact that living with the aim of reaching the stars isn’t exactly a bad idea. How do we get to do more of the things that we love, to fulfil our hopes, dreams and goals?

Simple: give your life monetary value. Doing so is a small step to getting more done, being more productive, and having more time for You.

Let me explain: take a minimum wage worker: they’re earning nearly £9 an hour, meaning that their time, while at work, is exactly that: £9. That worker may then need to go home and do their dishes, hoover the floors, and prepare meals for the week. However, let’s imagine that they also have a business on the side. Say, their dream may be to quit the day job and work for themselves full time. As a result, any time spent outside of their contracted hours may be worth more to them. They might view their free time as being worth £20 per hour, because that’s how much value they can bring to the business. Therefore, why should they spend that time doing their chores – something that they may not enjoy doing – when someone else (say, a cleaner), is willing to do them for £15 an hour? Compounding that value over time – imagining that this hypothetical person will continue to earn his hypothetical business £20/hour – will make the process of hiring to do their chores for £15/hour well worth the investment.

That’s the rationale behind why many entrepreneurs decide to hire personal assistants; if they can bring in the business £30 an hour, but an employee is eager to do tasks, like answering emails, for £10 an hour, why would they do it themselves?

It’s the same rationale that I used when deciding to buy a smart hoover: why should I hoover my own floors, when I can spend my time doing something that I find much more enjoyable? (Like blogging!) Give your life monetary value to decide what is worth saving time on, so that you can spend that time doing more of what you love.

Time shouldn’t be money

On the other hand, are we too focused on money and capital value in our society? Yes, money is a necessary thing to have to survive right now – that’s the nature of a capitalist society – but with such a heavy-handed focus on getting cash, saving it and spending it, should you really extend that to your life outside of work, where you don’t need to?

I’m not so sure. The system that I described in the previous section is a really great way to streamline your time to do more of what you love. That’s an inherently good thing, right? But when we’re not working, isn’t it better to take life a little easier? To not always live in the fast lane?

The answer to that is: maybe. It all depends on what your own, personal, mindset is. Do you want to always be money-orientated or not? That’s an answer you’ll need to come up with yourself; nobody can answer it for you.

What do you think? Should we give our lives monetary value? I’ve argued that we should, but I’d love to have a healthy debate in the comments below.

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