“Hhhgggrrr,” I grunted as I attempted to fit one more curl into my set. My face was red, I was out of breath, and to be completely honest, I was even a little dizzy… Of course it was at that moment (why is it that opportunities always come when you’re visibly at your worst??) that a guy behind me wanted to get chatty, “So what is it you’re training for?”
Somewhat embarrassed, I basically told him, “Nothing” (I’m just crazy enough to work out for the sake of working out), and then we got into the small-talk conversations…our names, ages, where we work, etc.
He was a financial advisor and was obviously well-off. After learning about my passions and my work, it was pretty evident that he thought I should be the same.
“You’re old enough, you can look people in the eye when you talk with them, and you already know a ton about finances. You could do very well. After three years, you could easily be bringing in $150,000-$200,000.”
Those numbers sounded pretty awesome, but the next obvious question that came to my mind was….time.
How much time would I have to put in to start earning this kind of money? And then for how long would I have to hold my family at a distance during this career path? Would it be worth the sacrifice? What is my spare time actually worth??
What’s Your Spare Time Actually Worth?
Whether you’re rich or poor, male or female, black or white, we all have an equal playing field when it comes to time. In one week, there are 168 hours…for all of us. It’s what we decide to do with those hours that will make or break us…
And, we can’t always use every waking hour trying to make a buck either. Without stopping and conversing, we’d never make friends, we’d never experience love, we’d never know the value of giving to others. Life may be full of money, but void of everything else that truly matters. Our finite existence in this world would be a complete and utter waste.
So what should we do instead?
Well, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the typical use of our time, and then we’ll start to quantify its value.
How We Typically Spend Our Time
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during an average week we spend:
- 63 hours sleeping
- 45 hours working
- 28 hours of leisure and sports (if you’re honest with yourself, most of this is “TV time”)
- 10 hours with household activities (food prep and cleaning up, laundry, lawn work, cleaning, etc.)
- 8 hours eating and drinking
- 14 hours on miscellaneous stuff – we’ll call this “relationship time” so it has a definite place in the list
This shouldn’t be much of a shocker. We all know that we sleep 1/3 of each day away (hey, we can’t help it! Our bodies need sleep!), and then the majority of the time that’s left is spent at work. Aside from that, we all have a bit of leisure time, we work on projects around the house, and we (of course) eat and drink!
How to Quantify the Value of Your Time
When you look at the list above, what category could you most easily give up? And how many hours of it would you be willing to lose per week if the money was right?
Start Creating Your List
List these categories out from least important to most important and be sure to attach the amount of hours to each one. (Some might come up more than once because (for instance) losing a few hours of sleep is okay…but losing 10+ hours might need a bit of a pay raise.)
Here’s my list of what I’d be willing to give up each week:
- Sleeping – 7 hours
- Leisure – 10 hours
- Household activities – 5 hours
- Sleeping – another 5 hours
- Relationship – 2 hours
Take a minute and write yours down. How do you typically spend your day? And what would you be willing to give up? Order them from least important to most important.
Put a Value on Each Item
Now we’ve got to put a dollar amount to each one of these hours. If someone walked up to you today and said, “I’ll pay you $20 an hour if you give up 7 hours of sleep this week, would you do it? Maybe you’d do it for less, or maybe you’d tell him to take a hike!
Take your list above and put a dollar amount on each one. What would it take for you to go without 7 hours of sleep? Or 10 hours of your leisure time?
Here are the dollar amounts I put on each one of my categories:
- Sleeping (7 hours) – $100 an hour
- Leisure (10 hours) – $150 an hour
- Household activities (5 hours) – $150 an hour
- More Sleeping (5 hours) – $250 an hour
- Relationship (4 hours) – $1,000 an hour (relationships are important…but if I could make $4,000 extra a week AND still have 10 hours a week left with my wonderful wife….I think that might be worth it for us)
Putting the Opportunity to the Test
Alright, so here’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s time to find out if that amazing opportunity is really as “wonderful” as it sounds.
Step 1: How many extra hours would this new opportunity take?
If I were to try my hand as a financial advisor, I’d need to increase my work hours by approximately 25 hours a week (from 45 to 70) for at least 3-4 years.
Step 2: What’s the increase worth per week?
- $100,000 a year is equivalent to $1,923 per week ($100,000/52 weeks)
Step 3: How much money would you need according to your numbers?
In order to make this new job a reality, I’d have to give up 25 hours’ worth of activity:
- Sleep (7 hours at $100/hr) = $700
- Leisure (10 hours at $150/hr) = $1,500
- Household activities (5 hours at $150/hr) = $750
- More Sleeping (3 hours at $250/hr) = $750
According to the value I placed on each activity, to give up 25 hours of my time, I’d need to earn an additional $3,700 a week (or $192,400 a year!)!!
Is the Opportunity Worth It?
My numbers tell me I’d need an extra $3,700 a week, and this opportunity would pay an extra $1,923 a week. So….nope! This opportunity isn’t worth it to me! PASS!!
What About You?
Have you ever stopped to think about what your spare time is worth? Most of us either fill our time with senseless crap that means nothing, or we’re so busy chasing the almighty dollar that we never even realize the value of what we’re giving up!
What is your spare time actually worth?
Take the exercise above to see if that next opportunity is actually right for you!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.