Money. Time. Energy.
I have seen and read many articles that speak about "Money, Time and Energy". (Unknown) They all have a similar concept or a picture like the one below:
I am not sure who came up with this idea, but it really makes you think when you see it. That is the problem….. You see it, think for a minute and go back to your daily routine. After spending some time analyzing and thinking about it, we can summarize life in 3 stages:
At this point of our life, we are attending school and enjoying the time with our families and friends. We usually try to do cheap things or free activities as we don’t have a lot of resources and have to ask our parents/guardians for money to do anything. We are mostly depending on the family household to provide shelter, food, clothes and things we need to survive. We have tons of energy and most of the time we complain at home because “we are bored”. You have a lot of time to burn.
By this point of life, most people have completed school or have learned a trade that will help them become a productive member of society. We start working 40 hours per week and most people have 2 days off. Some people start working over time and even a 6th day to make more money. At this age we have the energy to keep working excessive hours, make money to purchase materialistic things that at times we don’t even need, but we do not have time to do anything! We are so busy working that at times we can’t attend a family party, spend time with your son/daughter, or we don’t have time to even go to the doctor. We start developing a routine and we fall into a comfort zone so we can cruise through life and keep doing the things society tells us we must do.
Great…you have worked for 40+ years and you are ready to retire and enjoy life! If you were smart, during your working age you saved up for retirement and maybe own some assets that will help you for the next several years. You have all the time in the world and some cash to do everything! Oh but wait...now you are always tired, your feet and knees hurt, you are taking daily pills and visiting the doctor regularly for check ups. You are now lacking the energy you once had. You have worked your entire life to pay for things you purchased that at the moment you thought you needed.
So, you may be asking..."this sounds about right...but what is next?” We all have different lifestyles and things happen differently for everyone. But if you take some time to look at the average person and how their life can be summarized, you will see a lot of similarities with the 3 stages of life.
LETS FOCUS ON THE WORKING AGE
The stage in life that I would like to focus on is “Working Age”. During this stage it seems that most people have the energy and money to buy and do things as they please. If you have an average job and make a reasonable salary, you should have some disposable income and not live paycheck to paycheck. Again, it is during this stage that most big purchases are made. If you decide to purchase a house, car or any other big purchase it will come when you are able to financially afford it. The biggest issue that I see with this stage is that we are always “busy”. We are too busy to live life, because we are very focused on working to be able to make a “living” and pay for our lifestyle choices. I believe we all make different choices in life that have different outcomes in the long run.
For me, it is the “Working Age” that I decided to control and manage. As a working professional, I was living a comfortable life and doing things that I enjoyed. I had the energy to work long hours and travel all around the region as my job required. I was trading my time and energy for money. We all need a source of income to be able to live, but at what point do we know how much money we need to be comfortable? This question is unique to everyone, as we all have different lifestyle choices that will cost different amounts of money. Some people will decide they want a BMW or Mercedes. Others will realize that a Ford or Chevy does the same thing and will get you from point A to B. Who is right? Who is wrong? This will depend on the person and what makes them happy.
It was about a year ago, that I realized I did not need all the “nice things” to be happy. I did not need the newest shoes, shirts, car, tv, cable, or fancy food every weekend. I was going to make a lifestyle change, but that was fine with me. Being able to live with less also meant that I would spend less. The concept of the 3 stages of life also hit home since I never had “Time” to do things I enjoyed. There is no way we can add time and make a day be 32 hours, but I did have the ability to manage those 24 hours given to me. My way of thinking and approaching everything changed almost instantly! I was determined to manage my “Time” and do things that I enjoyed. I decided to take a leap of faith and enjoy life. I have always enjoyed traveling and one thing I always wanted to do was travel the world! Of course society tells you to work first, make money and then enjoy retirement and go to the beach. But why? Why did I have to wait until I was older to enjoy what I wanted to do today! I agree that all risks taken have to be calculated and that is exactly what I did. I decided that I would leave everything I knew and made me feel comfortable to travel around the world. I was taking control and managing my “Time”. I had to remove or eliminate anything that caused me not to have “Time”. The biggest risk, was leaving my full time job to pursue a dream. For me, it made sense and most importantly it was something I wanted to do. I did not want to grow old and have any regrets! The “Time” was perfect and it was up to me to make this happen and manage it correctly.
Time is something that we will never get back. It is one of the most important things we have as a human being and to spend most of our time being afraid to take risks is not the best. It is a challenge for us to create money or create energy. The value of money is determined by so many factors that it is very hard to control. Energy levels at an old age also become very difficult. Health is always a concern and who knows how long each person has to live. A lot of people wait until later in life to do things only to find out they can’t get it done anymore. In regards to "Time", this is the one thing we all have the same amount per day. Make sure you do what makes you happy. You will never have the ability to make hours or days, but you will always have the power to manage your 24 hours.