Who Owns Your Time? | Ep. 11 | Winenance Wednesday
Recently, a fellow FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) blogger completed her last day of corporate work. “Purple,” as she’s known in FI circles, explained that her first act as an early retiree would be helping a family member move and how she was looking forward to supporting her loved ones with her new-found free time. And then Purple said this:
Her tweet reminded me that the FI movement, at its core, isn’t about money, but rather about time. Amassing as much of your time as you possibly can.
As we said in our retweet, time is the most precious commodity. It’s an asset which no matter how rich you are, you can never buy more of it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and none of us knows when our last day will be (sorry for the darkness, but it’s just a fact!)
You can, however, buy your time back. So if you’re buying back your time, then that begs the question, from who are you buying it from? In other words, who owns your time?
Who Owns Your Time?
Perhaps what struck me most in Purple’s tweet was this: “My time hasn’t been my own since I was 12.”
It got me thinking about when, if ever was the last time I owned my time? I guess I would say twice in my life have I owned my time. First would be summers from ages 6-14 when all we did was stay home and watch TV until our mom got home from work. #90sKids
The 2nd time was when my job position was eliminated and I was laid off in 2013. The 3-month period between then and when I started my next job was the only other period when I owned my time. And arguably, because I was job hunting that entire time, I didn’t actually own it -- my rent and expenses owned it.
But from the ages of 15 onward, all I have known was employment and school, which means my time doesn’t belong to me. My employer owns at least 8 hours out of my day -- arguably more if you count time spent checking emails or thinking (read: worrying) about work.
This concept is known as trading time for money (aka you’re employed). One person can absolutely love everything about their career and another could be miserable at their job. What they both will have in common is that they trade their time for money.
We discussed this topic in episode 3 of Winenance Wednesday 👇🏽
Trading Time for Money
I was first made aware of this concept, vis-a-vis JL Collins, back in 2015. Before then, I had never considered that I didn’t own my time or that so long as I needed to be employed in order to live my life, my time would never actually belong to me.
If your lifestyle matches or, god forbid exceeds, your income you are no more than a gilded slave. -- JL Collins
I started to think of all of the things I would do with my time if I didn’t have to work.
I would go to yoga as frequently as I wanted, finally learn another language, read every book I’ve been dying to read, go kayaking or for bike rides in the middle of the day, grocery shop each day so I only bought what I needed, go to farmers markets, try out new recipes, clean my house top to bottom regularly (maybe…), run errands for my loved ones while they worked (suckers!), volunteer with local organizations, and so on and so on.
Basically, I couldn’t not think of things to do with my time. After all, I’m an Enneagram 7, so doing all the things with immense enthusiasm is our specialty.
Graphic designed by Made Whole Collective.
For a long while, I would daydream about what my post-FI days would look like, longing for that magical day to come sooner so I could finally start living the life I really wanted.
I’m not exactly sure when, but eventually I recognized that FI is also not a destination, but a journey. It’s a lifestyle shift that can start immediately -- if you allow it.
How to Own Your Time Today
I finally realized that I could still do all of those things -- even now. I may not be able to fill my days doing those things -- but if those were the things that made me happiest -- if they were my Why of FI, then why am I waiting to live my best life?
If time is the most precious commodity, then why aren’t I choosing to live my best life right now?
Eventually, I started a morning routine, which could (and should) be a whole other blog post. But this morning routine gave me a few more precious hours in the day to live my post-FI life today. I spend this time working out (usually), journaling, meditating, and working on my businesses (such as scrambling to finish this very blog post before I have to login to my 9-5 work).
Journaling helps me find gratitude for exactly where I am today, and reflect on the accomplishments which lead to my successes now, even if I’m not at the “finish line” yet.
Meditating helps me work through my anxiety over everything, and gives me a chance to get really clear and specific on the life I want now and in the future.
Working out means I am carving out time each day for myself and my health.
And giving myself time to work on my businesses in the morning means I am creating income streams that will help me reach my FIRE goals faster.
Reclaiming Your Time
I still dream about my post-FI life everyday. But instead of feeling powerless to sands in the hourglass, and waiting for life (and wealth) to happen to me, I choose to live that best life the best way I can everyday.
Owning my time is my ultimate goal in life. Being able to call 100% of the shots in my daily schedule fuels my ambitions, drives my performance at work and in my home life, and keeps me motivated to stick with my financial plan.
Because of Financial Independence, I will be able to buy back at least, if not more, 20 years of my life that would have otherwise been owned by an employer. And that time is worth all the money in the world.
Episode 11 time codes:
0:00 - Intro
1:32 - What is Time Ownership
4:45 - Time is your most valuable asset
6:19 - Money Mindset is a Time Mindset
7:03 - Who Owns Your Time?
9:30 - When last did you own your time?
14:42 - How you can live your post-FI life today
16:43 - It's money about money; it's about time
17:15 - Do what brings you joy - today
21:07 - Prioritizing your joy
26:00 - Creating time boundaries at work
27:00 - Reclaiming your time with FI/RE
29:12 - Fulfilling work is the goal (whether paid or not)
32:00 - What are you retiring to? (Why of FI)
35:09 - Finding purpose in work
37:43 - Monetizing your passions / New income streams
41:10 - Recap
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