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Time vs Money – Should You Earn More? Or Work Less?

Time vs Money – it’s the constant battle for me.

  • If I spent more time working on my day job, I could earn more and get promoted up the ranks faster.
  • I could spend more time on this website, and it could become a household name and earn me hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.
  • If I did this, that, and the other thing, I could have WAY more money in the bank!

But…at what expense?

If I put all my time toward earning money, that means I’m ignoring my family more, ignoring my faith more, ignoring my community more, ignoring my health more….the list just goes on and on. 

In other words, I could REALLY succeed at this one thing (money), but how badly would I then fail at everything else? And how crummy would I feel on my deathbed? Knowing my entire life was dedicated toward money and nothing else? What’s the right answer to this time vs money question?

Related: The Key to Start Living the Life of Your Dreams Today

Time vs Money Quotes – Shots of Wisdom

There are so many people out there that are a heck of a lot smarter than me, so before diving too deeply into this topic, I figured it may be best to lead off with some time vs money quotes!

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” — Jim Rohn

“It is not the man who has too little, but the one that craves more, who is poor.” — Seneca

“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.” — Haruki Murakami

What Is Important? Money or Time?

All the above quotes are great, but I can’t help but be the realist in the room. I mean…what if you have absolutely no money? Are you really going to say that time is more important? 

Probably not. 

Here’s a quick little graphic I came up with to explain my point. My time vs money graph!

Time vs Money Graph

Is time really that much more important than money? That all depends on how much money you have! Check out this time vs money graph!

  • If you have no job and therefore no money, you have a lot of time on your hands (left side of chart)
  • If you are a middle-class worker, you likely have a main job and a side hustle. Your money is okay, but your time is severely limited!
  • And then, for those that have a ton of money, they really don’t have to work another day in their life. They could stop working and have all the time in the world if they wanted to!

This model could also be viewed as a chronology of your life.

  • When you’re young, you have no money, but you have all the time in the world (the left side of the time vs money graph).
  • When you’re middle-aged, working hard and taking care of your parents and kids, you have a bit of a net worth built, but you’re SUPER strapped for time (the middle of the chart).
  • Then, once you’re retired and living off your nest egg, you suddenly have a bunch of time again!

But you know what’s crazy?

When is your time the most important? Right there in the middle of your life when you feel like you’ve got absolutely none of it!

Related: How Much Money Is Enough? (And Can You Stop?)

Various Ways to Solve the Time vs Money Problem

When you’re working a full-time job, taking all those kiddos to and from soccer practice, popping in on mom and dad to see how they’re doing, making trips to the doctor’s office, and dealing with random issues that pop up in life, how could you possibly carve out more time?

Time vs Money - should you work more or earn less1) Think WAY Ahead When You’re Young

When I was 16 years old, I knew I wanted a wife and kids someday. And, I wanted to earn enough money so that my wife could stay at home and raise our children (instead of leaving this up to the local daycare…which still just seems ludicrous to me). So, I got to work.

Of course, not everything worked out perfectly. But, long story short…

  • I became completely debt free (including my house) by age 29,
  • I got married to my now-wife at age 30
  • We own a rental which helps bring in extra income
  • My wife stays home with our two kiddos
  • And, I have a great job that pays well and offers fantastic benefits, which should enable us to retire quite well someday

I was a weird kid that actually had the foresight to think about what I wanted 15 years ahead of time. If you’re young and you know what you want later in life, it’s best to get on track financially now when you actually have the time to do it!

Related: How to Pay Off a Mortgage Early (I did it in 11 months!!)

2) Learn to Say No

If you’re not 16 years old, but instead you’re 35 and you’re grasping for any bit of time that you can, I’d say one of the biggest things you should learn to do is say, “no”.

  • “Do you want to serve on the board of a local non-profit?”
    • No thanks, my family is my priority right now.
  • “Can you take on a huge project at work even though you’re already stressed and overworked?”
    • No thanks, I just can’t do that – for both my family’s sake and my personal health
  • “Hey best friend! My spouse and I are going to Aruba. We want you to come with us! What do you think?”
    • Hmmm, sorry. It really doesn’t fit into our budget, and that’s the weekend of our son’s big baseball tournament. It’s just not going to work.

Learn to say no!

Sure, the cause might be admirable, but so is time with your spouse! And time with your kids! Time with your elderly parents! Sometimes you just have to learn to say no to some good things so you can carve out time for those rich memories with your own family. You’ll likely never regret it.

Related: Why Is Saying, ‘No’ So Important?

3) Get Paid Well For Your Time

If given the choice, which would you pick?

  1. A job where you only have to work 10 hours a week, but get paid $100 an hour, or
  2. A job where you have to work 40 hours a week, but you get paid $25 an hour?

I think we’d all pick option #1, am I right?

So how do you do that?

Simple. Begin with the end in mind.

What can you do that earns $100 an hour?

  • Start your own business as a plumber?
  • Step it up in your current career?
  • Become a writer like you’ve always dreamed of doing?

Whatever it is, make a commitment to make a change, otherwise you’ll be strapped for money and time all your life!

Related: Top 15 High Paying Income Ideas

The shocking reality

You know what typically happens (and that you should shield yourself against)? 

People find a job or business that pays way more, but then instead of dialing back on the amount of hours they work, they actually work even MORE! It’s ludicrous, right?!

We’re all so conditioned to…

  • earn as much as we can,
  • to buy as much stuff as we can,
  • to take very little time for ourselves,
  • and then die with regrets late in life…

Sounds terrible to me!

Related: The #1 Most Sought After Asset of All Time…and Why So Few Actually Have It

Time vs Money - do what you love4) Do What You Love 

For many of us, we feel as if we have absolutely no fun time for ourselves.

We wake up, get the kids ready, get ourselves ready, we work all day, we come home, take care of the kids, get them to bed, and then we maybe have a half-hour to ourselves before we drag our sorry behinds to bed (only to repeat that same madness the next day…and the next day…and the next).

But, what if we loved what we did for work?

That would help right?

If we could be what we wanted to be, what we always dreamed of being, such as a teacher, a family nurse practitioner, an astronaut, a trapeze artist, or anything else, wouldn’t that be so much better?

Instead of trudging off to work, we’d be skipping off to work for the day. And, instead of coming home with a long exhausted face, we’d be energized from all the cool things we were able to do!

We wouldn’t necessarily have more time, but we would at least be enjoying your time!

What is it that you like to do?

Could you make a living with it?

Perhaps you should start to explore this avenue!

Who knows? Your new full-time gig could be something you never thought was even possible!

Related: 100 Best Jobs in America

5) Carve Out Some Time for a Passive Income Source

One way to get time back would be by developing a passive income. In other words, you’d try to etch out an extra few hours in your schedule to hopefully earn more money in the future so that you can work a little less in your full-time job.

It’s not easy, so you want to make sure you’re putting your efforts into something that will actually earn you a future income.

Related: 25+ Great Passive Income Ideas (and 6 to Steer Clear of…)

invest6) Be Sure to Have Your Money Working For You

If you’re working a full-time job now, it likely comes with benefits. 

Benefits like:

  • A 401(k) matching program
  • An HSA contribution
  • A bonus program
  • A childcare reimbursement program

And there are likely many other benefits as well!

Be sure to take advantage of all these great financial programs! It will allow you to stack up money into your investments and perhaps allow you to work far less later in life! 

Related: Where to Invest Your Money in 2021

7) Be Okay with Having Less

And this is the biggie. 

Basically, people just have no idea when enough money is truly enough. There’s always that nagging voice in our heads that says, “I’ll be happy if I just had ________”.

Fill in the blank.

It could be:

  • a boat,
  • a bigger house,
  • maybe a plot of land,
  • a brand new kitchen,
  • a new car,
  • or a beach-front cottage!

The truth is, if you’re not happy where you’re at, then you won’t be happy with where you’re fleeing to either.

There’s just no magic purchase that’s going to make you happy.

But you know what? Perhaps having more time (life’s most precious commodity) will improve your happiness. Perhaps this whole consumerism mentality that we’re sold each and every day is just the most massive lie out there!

For me, I’ve been the most happy when I’ve had very little, but had more time on my hands and great friends and family to spend time with. 

Related: 9 Reasons to Consider a Minimalist Lifestyle

Time vs Money – What’s It Going to Be?

If you have absolutely no money, you may want to cut back on your excessive time and get a job. It might do you good. 

BUT…for the rest of us that do have solid jobs and incomes, but find ourselves time poor, then maybe it’s time to reassess where we are in life.

Maybe we should start to ask ourselves a few questions!

  • Is there any way I could earn the same amount, but work less?
  • Could I earn a living, but enjoy my work time more with a different career?
  • What if I earned $20,000 less, but I could gain 20 hours a week of my life back? Would it be worth it to me?

Be real with yourself. Talk about this time vs money topic with your spouse. What is time really worth to you?

Related: Can I Retire on 750k Dollars? (And…Can You Do It In Luxury??)

These aren’t easy questions, but there ones you’re going to want to consider now, and not something you’re going to regret ignoring when you’re older and looking back on life.

How’s your time vs money ratio? Are you overworked? Are you making room for the important things in life? Be honest!

Battle of the Mind Grow Rich Money


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.


  1. Thanks for this. All so true. I feel very trapped in my situation. I am single so no financial responsibilities to anyone except myself which has its pros of course. I don’t like my job anymore BUT I make good money and I will get a pension when I retire which is becoming rare now. If it wasn’t for the pension, I’d leave. I have been smart and have other investments and hope to retire a little early at 62, so in another 5 years. Since I only have my income, I have to make sure I’ll have enough to live on but do think a lot about ways to live with less money etc. I only have a mortgage, no other debt.

    • Hi Melanie. Just be careful. If times get tough for the company, your pension can disappear (it happened with GM 10 years ago, I know a few people that were affected), so don’t hang your financial hat on it. Instead, start developing some other income that could withstand your needs in retirement.

      What are you good at? What could pay well? What do you enjoy doing? The below article might spark some ideas.

      Either go the side hustle route, or consider an “encore career” after you retire from your current job. There’s always a plan B, or C, or D, or E!! 🙂

      Hope that helps!

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