Why saving time can be as valuable as saving money blog

The Money Value of Time

Why saving time can be as valuable as saving money

Part 16 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
By Thomas Anichini, CFA®, CFP®
Saving money is great, but often saving money requires spending some of your time. Put another way, saving money might cost you some time. While you can always make more money, you’ll never regain spent time. Deciding when to spend money to save time is a key part of our financial lives.
Several months ago, my wife and I traveled to help our daughter move from a furnished apartment to a different, unfurnished one. My daughter had purchased several pieces of assemble-it-yourself furniture. The whole moving effort was scheduled to take three days.
While my wife and daughter focused on cleaning the new place before moving in and the old place after moving out, my job was literally to do the heavy lifting: moving boxes and assembling the new furniture.
vacation travel
Nobody was born knowing how to assemble furniture. I certainly had no experience in doing so. After having tired myself out just from moving the boxes, assembling the first piece of furniture required energy and focus I barely had remaining. I don’t know how long my wife thought it was supposed to take, but that first set of drawers took me over an hour and left me exhausted.
Fortunately, my wife had hired a task worker to assemble the new bed, having paid for one hour of service. Given how long that set of drawers had taken me, I highly doubted one person would build a bed by himself in under an hour.
When he arrived to assemble it, we pointed him to the bedroom and focused on whatever piece of furniture we were working on. I began having doubts about whether we would be able to finish all her new furniture. Then, in what seemed like mere minutes since he’d arrived, the man emerged from the bedroom and announced he was done assembling the bed.
This astounded us. Not only was the bed constructed, but it also looked great! Since we had paid for an hour of his time, we quickly put him to work on the rest of the new furniture. He was amazing to watch. Within the hour, he assembled a dining room table, four dining room chairs, bookshelves, and a desk.

I realized his hourly rate did not begin to indicate the economic value of his service to us. His one hour of work would have taken me a few days, possibly even more time than we had allotted. Whether I had initially thought his fee for one hour was worth it was beside the point, because he not only saved me another day and a half of frustrating effort, but he also bought me a day and a half when we could simply visit with our daughter and enjoy her company.

Nobody was born knowing how to make financial decisions

Just as nobody was born knowing how to assemble furniture, nobody was born knowing how to make financial decisions. Fortunately, when you are making financial decisions, you can make a lot of decisions yourself.
3Nickels’ holistic advice can guide you in how to arrange your financial dollars, including those outside of retirement, according to your priorities. You have goals in addition to retirement, and their end dates probably arrive sooner. Depending on your situation, maybe you would be better off not saving more now for retirement but instead applying more dollars toward paying off debt, saving money for a down payment, or some other financial goal. You know your situation; we provide the tools to help you decide the best way to plan your saving, spending, and giving.
Just as spending money on a task worker helped us enjoy the last few days of our visit with our daughter, spending money now on 3Nickels might buy you time in the future that you can enjoy.

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