Broker Check

What Are You Worth?

June 13, 2023

I have asked it before, and I'm sure I'll ask it repeatedly. What is the value of your time? Very few people know. Sure, everyone says, "My time is valuable," particularly when they're upset and in a hurry. But that's usually nothing more than a knee-jerk, unconscious reaction to the situation. 

I'm talking about a thoughtful, conscious valuation of your time that you use to make intentional decisions about life and money. At BPG Planning, our first rule is that TIME is your most valuable asset. This statement isn't a catchphrase. It's a fundamental understanding of life and a heavily weighted variable in financial and personal decision-making. 

Assessing the value of your time and then intentionally implementing that into your life is an exercise most people will never undertake. I have more than one theory for why this is, but I'll summarize them all. 

First, they just haven't taken the TIME to think about it. The truth is most people drastically underestimate the value of their time. The average screen time for I-phone users in the United States is a great supporting stat. At just under 40 hours a week, the average I-phone user treats their phone like a job. I know some employers that love those numbers! Honestly, what are we doing? What were people doing with their lives before I-phones?

I think of TIME valuation in two ways. Quantitative and Qualitative. If you want to know the quantitative time value, ask an attorney. Think of it as your hourly rate. Everyone working can roughly figure out their "market value" based on their compensation. Now here is where readers need to exercise their common sense muscle. One of my basic rules in personal finance is that money and markets don't care about your feelings. 

That being said, some people have a market value of $20.00 an hour. Others may be $2,000 per hour. That rate depends on what you do and where you do it. It has nothing to do with your value as a human being. The price put on your labor is determined by the market's perception of the value you deliver. Should professional athletes get paid millions of dollars a year? No, but my opinion isn't relevant. 

The market dictates compensation, for the most part, and advertisers and team owners don't care how I feel. Nor should they. Back to the main topic of time valuation. Here's an overly simplified example. Let's say we have a person that makes $200,000 per year. Assume they work 2,000 hours per year. That's roughly $100.00 per hour. Now use $100.00 per hour as a filter in a TIME ALLOCATION exercise. Is scrolling Instagram or watching the news worth $100.00 per hour? What activities might you be giving your TIME to that are not worth your market value? There are many. If you don't reallocate that time, the exercise is worthless. So, putting that time to more significant and higher use is where you get the return on your investment. Rather than scrolling, try reading…a book. 

Some TIME has more than a market value. That's why there's a Qualitative evaluation of TIME as well. Regarding the Qualitative measurement, I think of Emotional Impact x Duration. What is the intangible value, and how long may it last? For example, I don't stand in line as a general rule. I go to the grocery store during off hours, do little to no retail shopping, and will no longer stay on hold for more than 5 minutes (COVID is no longer a valid excuse for extending hold times). 

Yet, I will go to the farmers market on Sunday when I know it will be busy because I like the feel of the community. I shop retail every Christmas in my hometown to support small businesses, and I will stay on hold if I purchase tickets to a show I know my Mother wants to see. 

These have all been rather superficial examples of TIME valuation and allocation. But what if you brought that same mindset to your personal aspirations and relationships? It will move the needle, but it will take work. There are only so many minutes in the day. You can't save them, and you can't repurchase them once you have spent the time. It is gone forever. So do you want to get home early to see your kids, or will you chat in the breakroom and stay a half hour late? 

Do you socialize or have lunch with people you don't do business with or may not like? Are you going to binge-watch Yellow Stone so you can jump on the bandwagon? People who need help understanding what money is worth will spend it on anything. TIME is currency. Invest in yourself and make good, value-based, TIME allocation decisions because you will never get a statement showing your balance.


Brian Pitell 

BPG Planning 

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author noted and may or may not represent the views of The Lincoln Investment Companies.