Money Poor Vs Time Poor: Which One Would You Choose?

Do we really have to choose between being money poor and being time poor?  The answer is “no” but let’s talk more about why it’s a “no” in a later part of this article.  To start with, let’s first talk about what is “money poor” and what is “time poor”.  Most importantly, let’s talk about what is the true definition of money.


What Is “Money Poor”?

Being money poor could mean that you don’t have enough money to support your living if you stop working for a few months.  Let’s be honest here.  If you can’t quit your job or close up your business and give yourself a few months to either take a break, find a new job or set up your next business, you are almost like a servant of your job or your business.  Since we are not talking about how to become “money rich”, we will just talk about how to avoid being “money poor”.  To avoid being “money poor”, work hard and spend less money than you.  It usually takes around a year of dedication to get yourself out of the “money poor” situation.  


What is “Time Poor”?

Being time poor means you don’t have time to do what you want to do.  If you love playing basketball with your friends 2 hours a week but you can’t because of having too much work to do, you are time poor.  


What Is the True Definition of Money?

Is cash money?  Kind of, but no.  Is stock money?  Some people may argue that it’s closer than cash, but still not quite.  Is your business money?  Even the most successful company doesn’t exactly equals money.  Money is the most valuable thing.  Money is time, period.  That’s why cash, stock, and a successful business is close to money as they allow you to buy time in a lot of situations.  However, they are not money since they don’t let you buy time in every situation.  


Are Cash, Stock, a Successful Business Important?

The answer is a definite “yes”.  As mentioned, they allow you to buy time in a lot of situations.  In addition, very often, you are making or doing something valuable to others in the process of making money.  Some people would say that “being useful” is the ultimate goal of life.  


Can You Be Both “Money Poor” and “Time Poor”?

It is really not that hard to become “money poor” and “time poor” at the same time.  Imagine someone that has a goal chooses to procrastinate, watch TV all day and not go to work.  It actually happens more than you may think.  You may know a friend that says he wants to be  an entrepreneur so it makes sense for him or her not to have a job.  Yet, he or she isn’t working much either at home to make things happen.  That person is so addicted to TV and social media that there’s no time left for doing what he or she actually enjoys to do.  That’s being both “money poor” (not getting work done) and “time poor” (not doing what is actually enjoyable on a deeper level but, instead, stuck at browsing the internet and social media).  You don’t want to be that person.  


The Usual Trap: Trading off Time for Money

A lot of times, we like it’s the right thing to trade off time for money.  “Working too hard” doesn’t mean the same for everyone.  We all have different situations and priorities.  The one thing you don’t want to do is that you don’t want to be out of alignment with your priorities.  If you say that your top priority is your family, it doesn’t make sense to only spend 2 hours with your family every week.  If one of your priorities is getting in shape, it doesn’t make sense to not do any exercise at all.  Meanwhile, you shouldn’t just work on your number one priority and ignore the rest.  It’s about balancing.  The following quote by Bryan Dyson, former CEO of Coca-Cola, explains the art of balancing wonderfully.  

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life." - Bryan Dyson


Can You Be Kind of “Money Rich” and “Time Rich”?

You can be kind of “money rich” and “time rich” at the same time.  The trick is to delegate a lot of tasks to others.  That way, you can have a lot of time to do what’s even more meaningful and enjoyable to you.  You can also achieve more.  With that being said, you should be aware of the word “kind of”.  You still need to make some tradeoffs.  For example, if you delegate the task of writing an article to someone else, it’s true that you can now use the time to do other things, but you also would miss the opportunity to write the article.  


Final Thoughts

Being “not poor” in not the same thing as being “rich”.  We can definitely avoid being “money poor” and “time poor” at the same time.  However, there are tradeoffs all the time in life.  We all have 24 hours a day.  If you are working 9 to 5, that means you are not spending time with your family 9 to 5, and vice versa.  If you want to spend time with your children everyday at 3, find a way to finish your work at 3.  A huge part of living a meaningful life is to know your priorities and to take actions according to your priorities.  

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