Time or Money? Which Do You Value More?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Scepticalscribe, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. Scepticalscribe, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #1
    Time or Money: Which Do People - or You - Value (Treasure, Rate, Cherish, Desire) More?


    This is a thread I have been meaning to post for some time, now.

    Actually, I have been struck by the number of threads on this section of the forum which touch upon money, or one's means, either as a core topic, or as a related, ancillary topic when discussing something else. From memory, some of these threads - a number of which are still extant - have covered matters such as: How much do you earn? What degree pays better? What size debt had you on leaving university? How much did you make in your first job after graduating? And so on. There have been many such threads, where money, financial status, and one's financial means have been the major - or a minor - element of the wider discussion.

    Obviously, the real cultural home of this forum is the world of the USA, - which is the world that pioneered many of the marvels of modern technology, such as the Apple products this whole forum was set up to discuss, and the values of that society clearly permeate many of the posts and threads which have appeared here. And that is fine. Wealth and its acquisition matter a lot in the US; actually, it seems to me that it is something of a cultural signifier as well as an expression of one's economic means and prowess.

    Nevertheless, it seems to me that a society which is clearly setting such a value on money, may overlook other matters, matters, which to me, at least, are of at least equal, if not greater, importance.

    And, in the context of this thread, I am writing about time. Quite some time ago, I realised that money is not my god; needless to say, it is very nice to have, nicer still to have it to spend, and, obviously, I prefer to be well remunerated than poorly paid, but years ago, I came to the realisation (one of those moments of searing and shocking insight), that I preferred professional autonomy, working at something I love, (and would - and have - taken salary cuts to be able to continue working in a congenial, respectful and intellectually challenging environment). Above all, this means that I valued - and value - my time far more than I value money.

    In practice, this means that personally, and professionally, I find that I place a higher value on time than on money; in other words, I will spend money to save time. And therefore, this means that I will try to create, or make, time for the people I care for and the things that I like to do.

    This is why I have always rented city centre apartments, (which are more expensive than apartments further out) and when I worked in my home country, why I always walked to work - rather than waste hours commuting; it is why I take taxis when necessary, it is why my free time is sacrosanct and - unless an absolute emergency threatens - I will not work on a day off. Indeed, on my own free time - I will begrudge doing anything or meeting people for whom I have little liking, and instead, treasure doing the things which I love doing, or seeing those whom I am fond of.

    So, then, fellow forum dwellers, which do you value more, time or money? And, if there is a strong preference, is there a reason why this is - or may be - so, or not, as the case may be?

     
  2. Shrink macrumors G3

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    #2
    I would suggest that it's not an either/or proposition.

    It has been said, possibly cynically, that only those who have money say it is not important. When one is without money (relatively speaking), time is marked frequently by constant worry and despair.

    Fot those with money (again, open to discussion as to what "having money" means) time can be used in a myriad of constructive, and even altruistic, ways.

    At my age time is extremely important...living in poverty would make that time less than pleasant.

    So let me suggest that the either/or be abandoned, and a more relativistic approach be taken. A blind focus for money for it's own sake misses the purpose of money...as a means to an end. A reasonable amount of money (to be defined by others) allows time to be used and enjoyed. The absence of money makes time hang heavy and filled with worry....and the absence of time makes money irrelevant.
     
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator

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    #3
    For me, I value both almost equally. But when push comes to shove, time wins over money. I much prefer being with the people and doing the things I like better than sitting in my office.

    My father always said it's better to have money and not need it, than to need money and not have it. Essentially, he's telling me that money is a tool and it's important to have - at least have enough to live a reasonable existence.

    When my office rings my phone on my off time, a chill of stress runs down my spine in the wonder of "what could it be this time?" And will it cause me to stop what I'm doing, usually sleeping in the night, and get up and go it. I really don't like that, at any time of day, despite being paid for the inconvenience.

    As with anyone, I imagine, I'd prefer to have enough money to where I didn't have to work and I could spend all of my time doing the things I enjoy most.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014

    Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    Very nicely nuanced response, and thank you very much for your reply.

    The ideal, of course, is a balance of the two. Agreed. And, one must ask how that can be achieved, or how people set about attempting to achieve this.

    However, I posted the thread because of what seemed to me to be the virtual obsession with money both for itself and, as a cultural, social and financial signifier, on these threads, and, concomitant with that, an almost total absence of any reference to time, and to initiate a discussion and encourage people to think a little about the relative value or worth of time (especially in relation to what seemed to me to be money-obsessed threads).

    Mind you, I like your excellent distinction - or point - about how - lacking money - time can hang very heavily and be a source of incredible stress, worry and despair and how the absence of time makes money irrelevant - very succinctly expressed.



    ----------

    Exactly. This is what I meant.

    Nevertheless, I am struck by how - in societies which value money over time - the thing that is valued least is the time of poor people; (think of all of the queues for basic services or rights, the endless bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome to navigate basic rights - that is often the expression of official, or state bureaucracy in their dealings with the poor.)

    Poor countries, societies (and people) are time rich - they have to be, as often time is the only thing in their lives or situations where there is a degree of flexibility. When you walk for two hours to save the bus fare, you are spending time to save money; when election counts take months - rather than say, days - again you are spending time to achieve a necessary outcome, or result.
     
  5. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #5
    The laws of physics tell us that Time flows in only one direction. The laws of Finance tell us that money, like the tides, both ebbs and flows. Ergo there can never be a one-to-one relationship between the two. Some people are blessed with the skills or good fortune to be able to exchange a certain amount of the former for a great amount of the latter. The rest of us, alas, do not necessarily have those options.

    The one thing we may be certain is the our time on this planet is finite. Once passed, I can never recover this (or any other) day. By way of contrast, the amount of money one may accrue is (theoretically, at least) infinite. And at the very least, I can always make another hundred dollars.

    Personally I think maintaining a healthy balance in one's management of both time and money is the surest course for overall happiness. A hundred years or grinding poverty doesn't sound very appealing to me. But neither does a lifetime of 70-hour workweeks, ignoring my family, friends, and wider intellectual pursuits, only to die regretting the things I never had the chance to do.
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6


    Okay, my comment will likely hasten this thread's trip to PRSI. I apologize if that is undesirable for you SS (it would be for me...).

    Actually, I think the time of the poor is valued quite highly by the wealthy. The working poor spend a large portion of their time generating value for the wealthy; and the unemployed poor are thought of as merely an untapped resource of man-hours. Their time isn't undervalued; it is under-compensated.

    I don't think I could place a monetary value on time.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    Thank you for your post, and thoughtful comments.

    Likewise, I don't really wish for this thread to be exiled to outer inhospitable reaches of PRSI.

    But I do think this is an important point, the time of the poor, and the value placed on it - and I raised it merely to invite people to think about such things.

    Here, I will draw what I think is an important distinction between how the working poor generate wealth (and income) for the wealthy, but yet the time they spend doing this is of little value and worth and I would argue that their time is the asset which has the least worth and value placed on it.

    Why else does everything take so long in the lives of the poor? Their working hours, (and the often miserable pay for those working hours), their commutes, the endless queues to access resources that in many cases they ought to have by right.

     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #8
    Yes, I have to agree. In my previous post I was playing a silly semantics game in order to qualify a point, but it does come to the same idea: that the time of the poor is undervalued (to the extent one can place value on such a thing).

    It seems that there is a distinction to be made. How one values their own time and money versus how one values another's time and money. I suspect that a more egalitarian society would at least value one's own and another's time as being closer to equal. As for money....I don't know. To be honest it is a concept I have a lot of trouble understanding.
     
  9. firedept macrumors 603

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    #9
    To me "Time is Money!". So it is hard for me to put one before the other at the moment. I think I will only value them differently once I am retired. Right now while I am in my working years they seem to go hand in hand. So I guess I value them equally for now.

    I would have to believe tough, that once I retire, I will certainly value my time more than money. Because by then my money will have been earned and it will all be invested towards just having all my time to myself and my family.

    Hope this makes sense.
     
  10. MICHAELSD, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014

    MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

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    #10
    Foremost, I feel I may have inspired this thread :p.

    Placing a higher value on time than money in the way you've described is very different than placing a higher value on your own time. Warren Buffett may see a value as unreasonable (i.e. taxi fares) and wait extra time for an alternative that he can at least deem to be worth his money -- despite his time being worth more than said fee just because he doesn't want to waste the money. While that may not be the best example, you are basically stating you will spend what is usually an unreasonable amount to save time. i.e. There are Halloween attractions by us that charge over double for a separate V.I.P. line, yet on some nights the regular lines are only a few people deep. Are these people getting their value's worth paying an extra $160 for a family to save an hour? Most likely not. A wealthy person may not even decide that's worthwhile. I typically find paying an overinflated fee to save time not necessary as I value the time it took to make the money in the first place.

    i.e. I can go to the Apple Store or Best Buy and buy a Retina MacBook Pro. That's the optimally convenient way to purchase it. Yet, if I shop around online I can save hundreds. I paid $350 under retail NIB without tax for mine! Was it worth spending the extra couple hours shopping and waiting for a deal? In this case yes.

    Or take my car. I spent (admittedly too long) 200+ hours shopping for the perfect deal and I ended up with one in great condition (clean title, etc.) for around $4500 under KBB private party. My options to make money as a student are limited and I value the money I have made so I didn't want to pay $12-$13,000 at a dealer for the same car. So, in this case I made car-buying a full time job and arguably made my time back in the deal I got. Could have done the same in less hours but finding a great car on Craigslist (if you want a deal) is more difficult than it looks at face value. If hadn't gone from realizing I'd find a car that could require too much in repairs over a year or two if I paid $4,000 to increasing my limit to $8,000 thousand by thousand this would've taken less time.

    That was an extreme example of how I value money over time if I can make or save money in that time. Admittedly, I will shop around on eBay and checking multiple retailers before making many purchases.

    This flips the thread premise on its head and digresses from it: a life well-spent isn't about how long you lived, but how well you lived. Not to say that wealth equates happiness, but in my case and my opinion it does help you live fuller.

    Frankly, I wish I didn't have to spend those 200 hours to get that deal. But that's what modern society is: you spend half of your time awake making money just to survive. Personally, I want to own a sustainable business so I have financial and scheduling freedom. Frankly I'm wasting a lot of my time and not really living now; I can only hope for my own sake and the time I spent that I do reach that goal.
     
  11. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #11
    You've implied what 'well' means to you, but would you describe it for me so that I don't assume I know what you mean.

    What do you mean by 'living well?'
     
  12. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Living well is spending most your time doing what makes you happy.

    I.e. if you have a job that is draining all your energy or a relationship that has been unfulfilling, then you are wasting your time and not living well.

    Would you rather live to be 50 doing mostly doing what you loved or living till 100 hating your job and/or your spouse, etc.?
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #13
    May I ask what makes you happy?
     
  14. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

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    #14
    This is a bit of a loaded question to ask someone in my opinion since I don't think it's one that people give much thought to. They just do what they enjoy.

    What do I enjoy?

    - Restaurants. I love the experience, no matter how many stars or whether it's locally-owned (preferred) or a chain. Would love to have a wife that appreciates great food and the entire experience as much as I do.

    - Technology. I'm a fan of advances, even small ones, more than a lot of people. Do I care that iOS gives developers direct access to the GPU? Yes. Do most people? No. Do I know the specs of a MacBook Pro from any year? Practically. Am I familiar with all laptop and phone brands? Yes. Do I follow Engadget and Gizmodo, etc.? Of course.

    - Inventing. I get a rush out of creating a concept that is truly improved or new.

    - Writing. Screenwriting, blogging, etc. etc. (especially creative writing) all set off a spark in me.

    - Quality TV series, especially cable.

    - A well-made film.

    - Cooking.

    - Weight lifting.

    - Fitness.

    - Blasting music on a decent stereo.

    - Songwriting.

    - Holidays.

    - Great dessert.

    - Spending time with my dogs.

    - Sharing moments with friends. This is when I've felt most on top of the world; probably more than being rich but I feel like that's part of my vision for my own personal life to be well-rounded.

    Why do I want to be wealthy? Then I can spend my time launching companies that actually improve upon something... and I can write.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #15
    Money.

    If I need time, I can always call in sick to work. *cough*



    But seriously....the world doesn't need to be so black and white, so I'm going to side with the group that values both equally.

    Besides, it takes time to burn through money.
     
  16. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

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    #16
    That is a really tough question to answer. But I'm 15 so I have no source of money so I would say money is valued more to me.
     
  17. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #17
    What a wonderful thread, so much thought behind it, I would like to add my 2 cents worth.

    I think I value time the most, but again that’s easy for me.
    My grandfather on my mothers side of the family was a ‘bon vivant’ and I think it rubbed off on me. I like to proof the finer things in life, Great art whether music dance theater painting sculpture or architecture, fine food and drink. It’s one of the main reasons I took early retirement, just travelling around Europe visiting the museums and art galleries. There are so many great books that I haven’t read yet, I’m learning Russian, I love the silent movies from Europe. I drive a classic car because it makes me happy, and most importantly it’s beautiful. Whether it’s a long weekend in a farmhouse in Tuscany learning how to make pasta, or I’m at Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris watching Sleeping Beauty, it’s about enjoyment.
    Art is the pinnacle of human civilisation.
    As my Grandfather once said to me "True beauty never fades, just to have viewed it, makes you a more complete person"

    It doesn’t have to cost anything it’s a state of mind.
    Sitting at a pavement cafe drinking real coffee, while reading a great book in the mild sunshine on a lazy afternoon, with no other place to be it’s heaven.






    In this part of the Netherlands it’s called’'Bourgondisch' which is a corruption of the word La Bourgogne.



    Going back to the easy for me bit.
    I live in the family home, this house has been in my family since 1793. I was brought up in a household which had independent wealth, when my parents died I inherited everything.
     
  18. roadbloc, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014

    roadbloc macrumors G3

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    #18
    Time. It is our only real possession throughout life.
     
  19. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

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    #19
    I dislike money, you have it - Everybody wants it, you don't - Nobody wants to deal with you. I value time more, and that's exactly why I'm still up at almost 6AM. 12AM to 7AM is the only time I can sit down and get some work/research/whatever done without people getting on my nerves.
     
  20. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #20
    I'm not sure it is a loaded question because people don't think about it, but thanks for sharing.
     
  21. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #21
    All Money is essentially equally valuable. One twenty-dollar bill holds the same value to me as any other. (Lets not get into the relative, changeable values of Krugerrands or Bitcoins, thanx..)

    But time isn't like that. Some time actually has negative value: An hour undergoing root canal; three hours on an airplane next to a shrieking infant. I'd just as soon do without that time, or blot the hours away with some nepenthe. Ask the convicted felon how much he's valuing the years of his sentence...

    Other time is incredibly valuable: The last minutes you spend with a dying family member. A dinner with good friends. A night in your lover's arms.
     
  22. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

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    #22
    Lovely post, Happybunny, and thank you for it. And yes, your perspective is one which I find myself sharing to a very large extent.

    Ah, now that is an angle that had not occurred to me! A take on the concept of time that has a 'negative' value. Fascinating, and what an interesting exploration of this idea.

    I'm not sure I quite agree with you, but that thought is certainly worth mulling over; thank you for your thoughtful post.
     
  23. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Sorry for injecting a somewhat morbid note, but I think it certainly is possible that, in certain circumstances and for certain individuals, "time" can have a negative value.

    Consider the (sorry) suicide. What clearer message can a person give: Thanks, but I don't want any more time. I'd rather give up all my worldly possessions, relationships, and suffer a (hopefully brief) moment of pain in order to not endure another hour, day, month of existence. On a perhaps less dramatic note, how else to explain the existence of Do Not Resuscitate orders or Living Wills?

    Now, one may certainly argue that the Suicide and DNR patient aren't against "time" per se, rather they are responding to a set of experiences that they find unendurable.

    But I find it is through our experiences that we really perceive time itself. An hour, millisecond or century are essentially artificial constructs based on (depending on your viewpoint) the motions of our planet in space or the vibrations of certain atoms. But our lives, and thus our existences, we measure through what we do, what we experience, and how those experiences make us feel.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

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    #24
    No, I wouldn't necessarily describe your post as 'morbid'. It is an interesting perspective which you articulate.

    After all, in starting the thread, I did invite thoughts on the topic of time, above all, how it is perceived and how it is valued. This is partly, because I , myself, value time exceedingly highly, (even when things are not as rosy as they might be), and partly, because the vapid obsession with money on these threads (and yes, I know all of the cultural connotations and social, cultural, economic and political reasons for this), annoyed me, and I wished to set about starting a discussion on time and the perceptions of relative worth and value in which each and both are held.

    So, your thoughts are most welcome, irrespective of 'morbidity'.

    But, on the topic of suicide, and DNR, while I am in no way an expert, I do think it is often a surfeit of despair and pain - mental, physical, and emotional - and a belief that nothing can possibly alleviate this which leads to such actions and messages.
     
  25. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

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    #25
    Only said that since for some reason I expected the forum to think I enjoyed acquiring wealth most.

    OP, I wrote a thoughtful response since I felt this thread may have been directed to some of my Community Discussion threads. Y u no reply? :eek:
     

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