Why Time is Money: How Wasting Time Affects Your Wallet

Roger Whitney
Roger Whitney January 9, 2020

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As time is a valuable commodity, why do people undervalue it? Roger Whitney, CFP®, host of The Retirement Answer Man podcast, discusses the connection between saving time and saving money. Find out why spending hours just to save a few dollars can cost a fortune in the long run.

Is it fair to say investing in stocks is like gambling?

Financial planner Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, and guest co-host Linda P. Jones, host of the Be Wealthy and Smart podcast, talk about placing bets, beating the odds, the stock market, and gambling. What is the best way to increase your odds at making a profit in the market? Why do people equate gambling with buying stocks, and why are they wrong?

Follow Roger Whitney at: http://rogerwhitney.com/ and on Twitter @Roger_whitney

Follow Linda P. Jones at: http://www.lindapjones.com/ and on Twitter @LindaPJones

Watch Time is Money on YouTube.

Read the Transcript

Interview With Roger Whitney

Get ready to be inspired by Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, and Roger Whitney, CFP®, as they tackle the issue of Time Versus Money. Is one more important than the other?

Douglas Goldstein:  I’m happy to have Roger Whitney, The Retirement Answer Man, here with me again. Roger, how are you doing? 

Roger Whitney: I’m doing great here in Texas.

Douglas Goldstein:  Great.  

Roger Whitney:  The other day I was talking with someone, and this concept of time versus money came up. We’ve had high gas prices here for a while and those have plummeted recently. But when gas prices were high, I remember having a conversation with my father-in-law about him driving 15 miles out of his way to save 10 cents a gallon on gas.

Douglas Goldstein: Interesting. It’s crazy how people think they are saving money but really, it’s costing them so much more.

Roger Whitney:  We really approach the two differently. How old are you Doug?

Douglas Goldstein:  I am 46.

Roger Whitney:  I am 49 but according to the life expectancy tables, Doug, you have a life expectancy of 33 years, which is just over 12,045 days. 

Douglas Goldstein: I’ve more than halfway done this called life, huh?

Roger Whitney:  Tomorrow, you’re going to have one day less, and then the next day, one day less so your time is diminishing on this earth. Man, this is getting depressing. 

Douglas Goldstein:  No, it is depressing.

Roger Whitney:  And mine is less.

Douglas Goldstein: It’s interesting, though. And apart from the philosophical thing you are saying, it’s also the absolute money of it. I was speaking to a client recently, who wanted to wire money. I used to live in Israel, so I deal with people who are mostly Americans, who live in Israel and they have American brokerage accounts or bank accounts.

This client was buying a house and she needed to wire money to Israel. Instead of spending the $50 fee that she could have spent, she found out that there was another bank that would charge $25 to wire the money. She opened another bank account, which was a huge hassle, and then she wasn’t able to wire directly to her bank and had to go through an intermediary, which was even more of a hassle. All this to save $25 on a wire.

It must have taken her hours and hours and hours. She didn’t realize that she has this other bank account, which she was trying to close. She might have gotten a 1099 at the end of the year and had to give that to her accountant and pay him to do the accounting on all of this.

I think people need to be not so penny wise and pound-foolish. Is that the phrase?        

Roger Whitney: If you calculated what she was paid per hour to do that, it would be miniscule. What comes up for me is, in conversations about taking care of the future. We all think about retirement and maintaining our lifestyle and a lot of times, we’ll have legacy goals of leaving some money for our children or our grandchildren.

Having that as one of your priorities from a financial perspective really puts a burden on the life that you’re allowed to live while you’re retired or independent, or whatever you want to call it, because you’ve got to make sure that money is there at the end. I always challenge people a little bit and tell them, “Why not use some of that money to create experiences for the family while you are alive, because that’s the time you have and that’s the most valuable part?”   

Douglas Goldstein: That’s right.

Roger Whitney: And money is infinite. They can print as much as they want. 

Douglas Goldstein: Well, not the clients. They’re not supposed to print it…

Roger Whitney: But you could always earn more, and money is something that is fluid over time.

It’s Not All About Accumulating Money

Douglas Goldstein:  I think you have to realize what the money is for. I’ve had this conversation many times. I’ve even had clients who didn’t have children and they were accumulating money. It wasn’t the question of a legacy. I told them, “Why don’t you spend some and go on a trip?” They weren’t into it. Then we met again a few months later, and I said the same thing.

About a year later, I finally get this call from Hawaii and they go, “Doug, guess what? We took your advice.” Then every couple of months they would call me from some other part of the world, because they finally realized that the point of the money wasn’t just to have more and more but it was to use it for something. Whether you use it for charity - which I think is a great idea - or you use it for family events, which is a great idea to bring the family together, or just to do things you like to do.

Good financial planners don’t spend all their time talking to clients about the money side of it. They spend much more time talking about what’s important to the clients in their lives.

Roger Whitney:  Exactly. I think that holding or grasping onto money has to do a little bit with this retirement crisis, which there is for a lot of people. I’m not discounting that. We’re fearful, and what I’ve noticed is that my very, very wealthy clients don’t feel any more secure than normal people.

Douglas Goldstein:  Isn’t it funny? In other words, people say, “If only I had a million dollars,” and then when they get it, they go, “If only I had $2 million,” and they want to have $5 million. What’s the psychology behind people always wanting more money?     

Roger Whitney:  I think we are hardwired that way. We are so comfortable and we invent things to worry about because it’s a survival thing. I was reading an article about that the other day. People need to realize that it’s only time that is finite. It’s the most important resource you have. We need to spend our time making sure our time is maximized.

Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!

Douglas Goldstein: I learned that in business as well. Initially, clients would tell me, “Hey Doug, I’m missing my April statement. Can you help me with that?” I would figure out how to get it for them and I would do it for them. Then I remembered that I had a team that does that kind of stuff. My time is much more valuable because I can spend time helping clients achieve their goals and their dreams, and I’ve got people whose job it is to handle these other stuff. I shouldn’t feel bad telling a client, “I’ll arrange for one of my staff to do that for you.”

People who are successful in business are the ones who understand what they are good at and do it. They usually delegate the rest.

Roger Whitney:  Also, in your personal life, what should you be doing with your time that’s impactful? You should worry about that more than your money. This is a good perspective we always need to be reminded of.   

Douglas Goldstein: Great points. In the last few seconds, tell me how people can follow you and follow your work?

Roger Whitney:  You can check me out at The Retirement Answer Man Podcast or at rogerwhitney.com

Douglas Goldstein: Roger Whitney, thanks so much for your time.

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