I want to start by acknowledging I understand that life is not easy and that for many people around the world; daily life is a struggle. I too have been there, working endlessly in unsatisfying jobs and seemingly not getting ahead. I know there is no magic wave-of-a-wand to help us achieve our goals for time or financial freedom, and this blog is intended only to outline the psychology of the differences between time freedom and financial freedom in a subjective way.
Aiming for financial freedom is still an incredible goal to strive for, but personally I aim for time freedom first.
So, let’s dive right in.
If you have time freedom, you spend your time truly as YOU want. For most people however, how they WANT to spend time involves expenses and costs. Thus they chase money to afford the way they want to spend their time.
But selling your time now (working) to buy time later (financial freedom) is not the same as having time freedom, because you have traded time now, for time later.
Time freedom means you never had to trade time in the first place. Meaning you are content with how you spend every day by doing things you presently enjoy.
You keeping up?
Trading time now for time later is essentially selling time. So that is not time freedom.
Financial freedom is having the freedom to use your finances to BUY you time.
Financial freedom is also subjective to an individual. If you prefer to go hiking and camping (Person A) instead of using jet skis, private jets and 5 star hotel room (Person B). Then Person A will need considerably less money to achieve ‘financial freedom’ than Person B.
So the monetary value of financial freedom is different for each person.
However, time freedom is not different for each person but the same, with the goal being to have as closest to 100% of your time as your own.
This may be a difficult concept to understand, indeed I myself do not fully grasp it and nor do I have either complete financial or time freedom. I do however value time, and that is the biggest mistake most people make. We trade out time now for time later; trading time de-values it as something we have in endless supply.
This is the dilemma. How then, do we achieve time-freedom without the money to support ourselves? This is where it is about striving for balance. We could invest in projects that can save us time over our lifespan; can we create something that generates an income continuously? Can we get a smaller mortgage and spend less of our lives in debt?
Or you can aim to sacrifice long term financial gains for greater time gains; can you take a lower paying job but not have to commute to work? Can you work less hours and have a 3 day weekend with your kids? Can I become my own boss and decide my own hours even if it means I take a pay cut?
If we visualise what more financial-freedom would look, for most people it is the list above. Better weekends, better work hours, more time with kids. So therefore, by aiming to gain more time, we have in effect actually lowered the amount of finances we need to achieving the lifestyle we desire.
Lets reframe it with this old saying:
There once was a local man fishing on a beautiful island. A foreigner visiting the island noticed how beautiful the island was and how there was nobody around.
The foreigner then saw the local man and had an idea.
“Hey why don’t you build a resort on this island! Many people would come here!” said the foreigner.
“Why?” said the local man
“Because if you built a resort you could be the boss and make a lot of money!” said the foreigner
“Why?” said the local
“Because when you’re the boss, you can retire and buy a boat” said the foreigner.
“Why?” said the local man
“So that you can retire doing what you love and go fishing as often as you like!” replied the foreigner.
“I already fish as often as I like, which is everyday!” happily replied the fisherman
To summarise, sometimes we chase a means that does not lead to a desired end. It is always important to continually improve, work on our education, work on our finances and try to grow as people; but when your sole focus is on financial freedom you may just find that what you were actually chasing wasn’t all the money, it was just more time.
Personally I am blessed that the things I enjoy cost very little, as what I enjoy is spending my time outdoors. So freedom for me is simply more time outside.
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These blogs are aimed at helping readers through their personal development journey by expanding their comfort zones and positively improve quality of life through a growth mindset. Blog topics may include travel and adventure, mindset and mentality, or physical development.