Trading Money For Time And The Things I Buy

Dan Gould's Car - Investor in Flowtown

Time is money. Money buys time. You can get more of one by investing in the other. Both are resources you can use to create a more meaningful life. Things that are important to me are; being close to my family, being creative, travelling, connecting with brilliant people, and solving problems that will leave a dent on the world.

The way I do this is by trading money for time and then invest that time on those things. There’s a bunch of ways to do this, but here’s a quick list of how I spend money for time.

  • Grocery service
  • Driver
  • Assistant
  • Travel agent
  • Maid
  • Laundry service
  • Hiring great people
  • Money manager
  • Property management

I could do a whole post on the services and people that I use, but that’s not the point. The point is how you should look at money and where you should be investing your time. There’s no point in being successful financially if you don’t create time to spend it with those you love the most.

I either hang out with my family and friends, or work. That’s it. On the surface some might think I’m lazy or I like to waste money – but that’s because they don’t understand how and why I do this. I only work on things that I’m uniquely qualified to do and that will act as a force multiplier to create value. Value in my life as an entrepreneur means wealth and relationships. Anything else is a distraction and huge waste of my time.

The way I look at “investing” my money is in myself or other people. I’ve always been an entrepreneur and have an active company that I’m working on – today it’s Clarity.fm. I also invest in real estate. The other way I invest is in other people as an angel investor. Today I’ve been involved in 15 other companies and have already made a positive return even though 10+ of those companies are still running.

What I don’t waste my money on is car payments, consumer debt, and other expensive crap that’s not useful. If I can’t buy it cash – and will have time to use it – I don’t buy it. Furthermore, most things can be rented – no need to own. On that note, I’d much rather invest in a company or startup then buy a new car. It’s just more fun, and it plays into what I said early: “connecting with brilliant people”.

The truth is I didn’t start off this way. For a long time I did everything myself and nearly got burnt out. Over the past few years I’ve change things around to get more time and it’s allowed me to be more present, focused and effective.

I’m blessed each day I get to create great product, with brilliant people, for customers that I love. I’m fortunate to be able to travel to visit my friends and family all over the world. I wanted to share some of these beliefs and hope to inspire you to look for was you can trade money for time, then use that time for opportunity to create more meaningful value (wealth), or just spend more time with your family.

We don’t need more stuff. We need more time.

  • http://www.GetDateIdeas.com Will

    Well said, Dan.

    I’ve been using RescueTime for over a year and a half and found a treasure trove of information that I”ve never been able to know about had I not dug into that data. I find it both fascinating and astounding how much time we waste on seemingly frivolous things/activities.

    Stuff like spending way too much time on Twitter, Facebook, Path, Techcrunch etc etc. All for what? To stay “updated” with a torrent of the mundane and timesinks?

    I’d rather get updated face to face over a beer or a coffee.

    Anyway. Thanks for writing this post and awesome that you’re spending your time and money where it counts most :)

    Cheers,

    Will

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks Will – I’m a huge fan of RescueTime. Actually, the founder is on Clarity (yes, that’s a plug :) https://clarity.fm/#/tonywright

      I guess I forgot that first is productivity with work, then once you got that, it’s other things in your life (like the stuff I mentioned).

      I’m way less active on social then I use to be – and do what you mentioned – beers or dinner. I schedule lunch w/ founders everyday, and dinner once a week.

      You can’t beat in person!

      • http://twitter.com/dustinhinton Dustin Hinton / Geek

        FYI – it’s @dustinhinton Dan.. The link in this comment gives anyone access to all of his personal call history & phone numbers, you can edit or delete his entire profile, and have access to his info.. just a heads up..

  • http://www.SiliconPrairieNews.com/ Jeff Slobotski

    Great reminder and good points Dan. Important to focus our time and energy on what and who truly matters…

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thx Jeff, our conversation the other day about virtual assistants gave me some inspiration to write this.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed the article and it reinforces the principles that I follow and live by financially. You say at the end that we don’t need more stuff (i.e. Tesla), we need more time.

    Why is there a picture of you in the Roadster? Does this contradict your entire thesis?

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Great question .. the caption of the image says “Dan Gould’s Car – Investor in Flowtown” – I just borrowed it :)

      I also don’t think you shouldn’t buy nice cars .. if you can afford it cool – what I’m arguing is first get more time in your day (invest in those things) before buying more stuff.

      Hope that helps explain my point of view.

  • Ryan

    Dan- I just sent you a message on Facebook.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Ryan, cold FB messages aren’t the best way to get my attention.

      • http://www.facebook.com/vlad.ciurca Vlad Ciurca

        And what would be the best way to get your attention? Maybe a call using Clarity? :)

  • http://www.gordonbowman.com Gordon Bowman

    Great post. I have the same mindset. I’d be interested to see that post on your favorite paid for services for that trade money for time.

  • http://www.johnhaden.com john haden

    love the minimalist approach… in everything… web design, home decor, and just “stuff” in general…. less, truly is more. decent car, decent fixie gear, iphone, macbook, decent surfboard and wetty is what I’m trying to limit my possessions to at the moment. if I had extra dough, I’d hope I’d do the right thing and save it, put it towards the kids college fund or at least do something productive like travel.

  • Mark Hemmings

    “If I can’t buy it cash – and will have time to use it – I don’t buy it. ”
    I live by that philosophy now too . . . after a decade of ridiculous personal spending, and the resultant pain. The American financial talk show host Dave Ramsey would give you the thumbs up

  • Pete James

    Insightful and inspiring. I wasted money for years, then I learnt the value of what matters most and now focus my effort and resources on them.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Cannot agree more! Save time and money while en route with private charter: email Anna at Blue Star Jets for a quote: anna@bluestarjets.com

  • Matthew Cole

    Hey, just stumbled on your blog while checking out website designs. I love this article, awesome post! Just thought I’d add one thing :), If you don’t have time and the money, then work your butt off and pay off your debt! This is what I’ve been doing for the past three years since I graduated from college and in two weeks my car will be paid off. The only debt I will have will be student loans and a mortgage. Can’t wait because I feel really burnt out from over-working myself. Anyway, great post!

  • cliftondildy

    “Most things can be rented” does that go for homes too?

  • http://twitter.com/LefebvreVal Val Lefebvre

    Brilliant! You said it all
    Thanks for sharing this Dan, so well said!

  • http://www.matthewmarcus.com/ Matthew W. Marcus

    Late to the table on this post, but it’s still as poignant as ever (at least for me). i was just thinking about the topic of “time is money” the other day as I spent 4+ hours chopping up a MASSIVE branch that broke away from the biggest tree in my yard. I could have paid someone to do this for me, but I figured I should put in the time & effort to do this myself so I could save some bucks and perhaps spend that money differently.

    However, after thinking more about it, I realized I should have in fact paid a professional service to do this chore. Sure, it would have cost me some moolah, but it would have saved me time that I could have applied towards building Local Ruckus which will ultimately (hopefully) make me more than I would have spent for the service.

    Lesson learned: don’t get shortsighted. Money spent now could result in more money made later (assuming you apply your time appropriately).

    Thanks for the post, Danny boy! =;

  • The Real Dan Martel

    Imma murk you